Forget the Haters, ‘Ideal Home’ Is Pretty Funny
I’d never heard of the movie Ideal Home, released in June of 2018, until the other day when it caught my eye on the HBO app because of the faces of stars Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd. I’m a big fan of Coogan’s. He’s witty, snarky and exciting to watch because he has an element of danger about him. He’s not trying to please. As a middle-aged woman in America, I’m contractually obligated to drool over Jason Bateman, and if he’s not available, Paul Rudd.
Steve and Paul play Erasmus and…Paul, a bickering gay couple who live a fabulous life in Santa Fe where Paul produces celebrity chef Erasmus’s lifestyle and cooking show. He’s like Rachel Ray, only British, gay, and draped in Southwestern clothing. A typical exchange: “Why are you wearing chaps to dinner?” “Even though I don’t believe in reincarnation, I’ve been more and more convinced that in a previous life, I was a cattle rustler.” “You couldn’t rope Ethel Merman.” The comedic chemistry and timing between the leads is in great supply.
IDEAL HOME ★★★ (3/5 stars)
Directed by: Andrew Fleming
Written by: Andrew Fleming
Starring: Steve Coogan, Paul Rudd
Running time: 91 min.
The movie’s plot kicks into place when one night at a dinner party, Eramus’s 10-year-old grandson Bill unexpectedly shows up because his dad was arrested and he has nowhere else to go. This leads to chaos as the three must adjust to living together. Eventually the Hallmark trope of Love Always Wins shows up and they form a tight family bond. All’s well that ends well, right?
Well, not so fast. I enjoyed this film quite a bit and laughed at a lot of the lines. The three bond sweetly, even in a scene where grandpa and grandpa talk to Bill about not selling Xanax at school. However, a quick internet search showed me that Ideal Home has been soundly criticized for its portrayal of gay men as bitchy and flamboyant. This, despite the fact that the gay writer and director Andrew Fleming based the story on when a child came to live with him and his partner of 23 years. The cast is full of gay actors. Plus, the closing credits feature picture after picture of actual gay parents with their children.
Yes, putting the tagline “These Dads Suck” on the movie poster definitely leaves you wondering about the judgment of the people in the marketing department. Some of the jokes are insensitive. And of course, I’m a straight, white woman talking, so my opinion isn’t as valid. Still, I didn’t watch this movie thinking it was a serious take on gay parenting. I watched it and thought it was a funny take on two men who love each other, who enjoy their life, and then find more love when they open their hearts to their grandson. Plus who doesn’t enjoy a movie that includes two scenes of Steve Coogan in a Taco Bell?