Three to Tango (12)
ALL the various cast of Friends seem to have a particular niche when it comes to the movies, and for Matthew Perry it’s comedy.
In Three to Tango, instead of the pratfalls and slapstick of The Whole Nine Yards, he is presented with the opprotunity to indulge in banter and fun with Neve Campbell as both performers enjoy a traditional comedy of mistaken identity – with a twist.
The twist is that Perry, as one half of a struggling architects’ partnership, falls for the girlfriend of the millionaire would-be client he and his gay partner are trying to land. When they get the job, things get tricky.
Both the girl (Campbell) and the millionaire (Dermot Mulroney) thinks Perry’s gay. So when the millionaire needs a harmless chaperone for his girlfriend while he’s busy, who better to choose than the young, gay architect who’s busy remodelling his dream building?
Yet Perry is slowly falling for the girl. As she confides in him, so he falls deeper in love. It’s a love disaster waiting to happen – a different type of love traingle where he loves her and she loves him (as a brother) AND the other guy. Various mistakes over Perry’s sexuality only serve to muddle things further.
Three to Tango presents the distaff side of all those movies which have gone before, from Threesome and The Object of My Affection to the most recent, The Next Best Thing, yet it is more truthful, and far funnier, than any of them.
Perry, a master of comic technique as demonstrated by his turn in The Whole Nine Yards, again proves his dexterity particularly with facial comedy. He pulls great grimaces, and reacts well to the feeds from Campbell, Mulroney and Oliver Platt, another great pillar of comic support.
What makes Three to Tango better than the average love triangle flick is in its occasionally inspired observation of real-life fantasies/emotions.
There’s the moment when Perry is invited into Campbell’s bathroom as she soaks, during which she gleefully admits ‘I once had a lesbian experience’. Perry stands up so fast his head almost falls off.
Then there’s the moment when Campbell’s various girlfriends dissect her relationship with Perry, and decide, as a group, that all they really need in a man – love, devotion, understanding, dress sense – they can find in a gay best pal. Sex? Who needs that?
Perry’s mates, meanwhile, edge shiftily away across the sofa as he tries to convince one and all that he’s a red-blooded American male, and not the cuckoo in the nest.
Fresh and funny, occasionally un-PC, Three to Tango is bubblegum movie-making at its best.