Feb 10, 2013

[Movies] eCupid (2011)

When it comes to LGBT movies, I have to admit that my preference tends to lean towards comedies more than anything else. I guess there's just so much baggage associated with queer dramas that seems a bit overdone - like how most are about the struggle with HIV/AIDS, or infidelity or substance abuse on the party circuit. Given all that, I really enjoy the movies that know how to have a bit more fun and try to celebrate different aspects of queer culture.

But of course comedies are a mixed bag in themselves. Some a brilliant and witty. Others are vulgar and slapstick. And some are just too horrible to watch. But as the queer theater scene continues to grow and evolve, we'll continue to see all these different kinds of movies as the creative folks behind them get better and better at what they do. It's a tough industry that gets little to no support from the major studios, and thus most LGBT movies remain solely in small film festivals and of course the direct-to-video market.

I'm a bit on the fence about this particular movie, which is a shame since I liked their prior project, Is It Just Me?

Synopsis: eCupid is a 2011 LGBT comedy written and directed by J.C. Calciano.

Marshall (Houston Rhines) is an advertising designer who has been in a long-term relationship with Gabe (Noah Schuffman), a cafe owner, for more than 7 years now. As of late, Marshall is feeling increasingly stressed about work and the seeming lack of opportunities while also feeling like Gabe is too busy to spend time with him. His frustrations lead him to the internet and eventually a new app called "eCupid" that promises to help its users find true love. Thus on a whim he installs the app and leaves things at that.

However the app is a lot more than it seems as it first scans all his computer files somehow and effectively takes over all his electronic communication via his computer and his phone. Thus eCupid proceeds to reorganize Marshall's life resulting in his partner wanting to break up with him and a whole plethora of guys quite literally showing up on his doorstep. All of this is part of the app's goal of sincerely helping Marshall find true love.

The core premise of this movie relies on whether or not you believe in eCupid being not just intelligent but also manipulative and practically clairvoyant. I know it's meant to be cute and funny but you can only go so far from reality before the whole thing falls apart. And to have Marshall allow himself to be essentially bullied by an app just seems a little too weird for me. If he really was that shallow, then who would actually to be in a relationship with that kind of a guy?

The acting was a little flat, admittedly, with many of the supposedly comedic scenes somehow not playing how quite right from a timing perspective. It's hard to say precisely if it's all because of acting being less that what was needed or if they somehow lacked direction - it was probably an odd mix of both.

For many queer fans, the real gem of the movie was the involvement of Morgan Fairchild who was both the voice of eCupid and another character later on - I won't tell you who. Oh yes, we love our icons and to be fair, she still looks quite stunning regardless of your sexual orientation. And in a way, her involvement in this movie seemed as ethereal and magical as eCupid itself.

On the whole, the movie still has a decent message even though it has a somewhat roundabout way of telling it. Then again, if you've watched enough romantic comedies in your life, then you can pretty much predict the movie's almost fairy tale ending.

eCupid could have been so much more, I feel, but it's still better than most of the mindless pink flicks that come out. Instead of promoting a life of promiscuity and recklessness, at least the movie still aspires to promote the value of true love. Thus the movie gets a respectable 3 crazy appointments set by eCupid for Marshall out of a possible 5.

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