[box cover]

Jeffrey

Taking the standard screwball comedy and turning it sideways, writer Paul Rudnick (Addams Family Values, In & Out) adapted his off-Broadway hit Jeffrey into a sweet, old-fashioned rom-com — the twist being that the central character is gay. Jeffrey (Steven Weber) is an AIDS-phobic actor who gets so fed up with the complicated machinations of safe sex that he decides to go celibate. But of course, as soon as he makes that vow he meets Steve (sexy Michael T. Weiss), the hunk of his dreams — and said hunk isn't interested in just being friends. With the encouragement of his interior-designer friend Sterling (a hilariously campy Patrick Stewart), Jeffrey decides to take the plunge and try love one more time; then Steve shares that he's HIV-positive. While this may not sound funny in itself, it's really just the classic tale of boy-meets-girl (in this case boy-meets-boy), boy must overcome obstacles to win love — and Rudnick uses this framework to riff on any number of cultural hilarities as Jeffrey joins a support group for sexual compulsives, attends an empowerment lecture by a bulldozing self-help guru (Sigourney Weaver), and even seeks advice from a gay priest who worships Broadway musicals (Nathan Lane). The film is full of funny gags, but the characters are amazingly well-drawn and the love story is handled with surprising depth — Stewart is especially impressive, taking what could have been a stereotypically one-joke character and giving him both warmth and wisdom; Sterling believes in Love with a capital L, and he lectures Jeffrey that one must embrace it wherever one finds it (even if, as in the urbane Sterling's case, one's love is a dancer on Broadway in Cats). Occasionally the film's episodic structure belies its roots as a small off-Broadway show, but overall Jeffrey is a light, funny, sweet-natured movie about the perils of modern intimacy. MGM's DVD release features a bright, clean-as-a-whistle anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with sparkling Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (subtitles in English, French or Spanish are included). The only extra on board is the original theatrical trailer. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor



Back to Quick Reviews Index: [A-F] [G-L] [M-R] [S-Z]

Back to Main Page