Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1997. Paramount Pictures, Spelling Films. Screenplay by Paul Rudnick. Cinematography by Rob Hahn. Produced by Scott Rudin. Music by Marc Shaiman. Production Design by Ken Adam. Costume Design by Ann Roth. Film Editing by Daniel P. Hanley, John Jympson. Academy Awards 1997. Golden Globe Awards 1997. New York Film Critics Awards 1997. Toronto International Film Festival 1997.
Pointedly funny comedy by Paul Rudnick (Jeffrey, Addams Family Values) about a shy, mild-mannered high school teacher (Kevin Kline) whose life is thrown into a frenzy when a former student (Matt Dillon) wins an Academy Award and tells everyone that his favourite teacher Kline is gay (the film’s plot is a hypothetical spinoff of what could have happened after Tom Hanks’ acceptance speech the night he won for Philadelphia). Now Kline’s parents (Wilford Brimley, Debbie Reynolds), students, colleagues and especially fiancee of fourteen years (Joan Cusack, who is, as Rudnick himself put it, God) are getting nervous, hoping to get to the bottom of this admission. Enter tabloid reporter Tom Selleck who helps put a few things, um, straight for our hero. Sharp-as-nails attacks on the ignorant assumptions and ideas that Middle Americans have about gays and lesbians are more than welcome, as is the exceptionally funny screenplay, but if nothing else attracts you to see the film, watch it for Cusack’s knockout performance.