Neil Young’s Film Lounge – The Broken Hearts Club

Published on: March 23rd, 2004

THE BROKEN HEARTS CLUB

6/10

US 2000
director / script : Greg Berlanti
cinematography : Thomas Bango
editing : Todd Busch
stars : Timothy Olyphant, John Mahoney, Dean Cain, Matt McGrath
94 minutes

If youre in the market for a gay version of Swingers, Broken Hearts might just fit the bill. Otherwise, there’s no special reason to seek out this amiable but forgettable trifle from writer-director Berlanti. The Club is an LA softball team who fall in and out of each others arms and affections, until a predictable tragedy brings them tearfully together for a group-hug finale. This is especially disappointing, given the fact that a character has a speech criticising the cliches of gay movies which, up to this point, Broken Hearts has refreshingly managed to sidestep. Afterwards, its a case of ticking them all off one by one.

A charitable view would be to suggest Scream-type self-referential irony, but everything is played so straight (so to speak) that its unlikely Berlanti had any kind of Wes Craven irony in mind. Theres a blandness in his direction that never comes close to the agreeable rough-edged looseness Doug Liman brought to this corner of Hollywood in Swingers. The script is a smart enough, striking the right balance between character stuff and barbed quippery, and the photogenic cast do their best with it, though Olyphant (Todd Gaines from Limans Go) is the wrong choice for the restrained main character. Its otherwise a strong, nicely varied ensemble, with Justin Theroux, deftly underplaying an underwritten stoner role, the pick of the photogenic bunch.

1st April, 2001

by Neil Young