(out of 5)
It seems like the ideal marriage when we meet doctor Michael Ontkean and television producer Kate Jackson, but no matter how much tasteful beige furniture you throw into a California house, somewhere trouble is lurking. We discover what this trouble is when Ontkean makes a few bungled attempts to get himself into the arms of a man, picking up a hustler (and then sending him away) and a jaunt into a gay bar that also ends prematurely. When studly Harry Hamlin walks into his office for a check-up (which, by the way, involves very little actual medical attention), he finds himself smitten with this very handsome man and, before long, they are in bed together. Repeat visits bring up difficult issues: Ontkean does not know if he wants to derail his marriage, and Hamlin has no intention of being committed to anyone, preferring the free life of a bachelor. Determined to be the first tasteful movie made to involve major characters who were openly gay, the film suffers from not enough flavour: the whole thing is so proper and polite that there is absolutely nothing worth savoring. The interactions between the men are amazingly sincere, which must have blown gay audiences out of the water after decades of being portrayed as miserable, doomed and asexual beings, but get Ontkean into a room with Jackson, who is so very lovely but not strong enough for what is already a weakly written role, and the drama fizzles. The film congratulates itself so heartily for being so grown-up that it forgets to include any kind of conflict or interest, and the few points of character detail are lost amid tons of love scenes by fireplaces and hackneyed moments of grand drama.
Directed by Arthur Hiller
Cinematography by David M. Walsh
Music by Leonard Rosenman
Production Design by James Dowell Vance
Film Editing by William Reynolds
Podcast: Bad Gay Movies