Spoiler Alert: this movie isn’t perfect, but it is heartwarming.
Not even my positive feedback for “Bros” could give it a financial boost at the box office, and it’s a shame most of you missed out on it, because it was a funny and affectionate gay romcom. I may be a straight film critic, but I was still able to show my respect for gay actor Billy Eichner and how he expresses his love for these interests.
Now, we have “Spoiler Alert,” which was released by Focus Features, the independent studio owned by Comcast as part of Universal Pictures, which released “Bros.” This one stars Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” as Michael Ausiello, a TV Guide writer-turned-reporter, who fell for the gay photographer Kit Cowan, and stood by him when Cowan passed away from neuroendocrine cancer. His memoir “Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies” is no exaggeration, because the movie opens with kit dying in Michael’s arms.
“Spoiler Alert” was directed by Michael Showalter, who gives this comedy star the near same tone as he did with Kumail Nanjani in “The Big Sick.” This movie doesn’t rank with that film or “Bros,” because parts of the movie go on too long, but it does have some good laughs and tears that makes you feel bad for the characters.
The movie also stars Ben Aldridge (Thomas Wayne on “Pennyworth”) as Kit, who has yet to come out of the closet in front of his parents (Sally Field and Bill Irwin), but when they wonder why Michael was at the hospital with him and why he is still in the very same apartment they’re in right now, he comes out of the closet. And they’re cool with it. Sounds like a spoiler alert (hence the title), but this came rather quickly, didn’t it?
Some of the parts that go on regard Michael reflecting on his childhood when he was a former fat kid (FFK as he calls himself), who lost his mother. He likes to imagine it as an 80s sitcom, although according to the cinematography, laugh track, and mannerisms, it feels more like “Fuller House” than “Full House.” They just feel too typical, compared to the material Parsons can present himself on TV.
When those scenes are over, I’m glad we moved on to his adulthood, when he demands a hospital bed for his dying lover in the tradition of Shirley MacLaine in “Terms of Endearment,” and when he admits to Kit that he is a die hard Smurf fan with the figures and the blankets, and Smurf on and Smurf on.
I’ve never watched “Pennyworth,” but Aldridge has the goods as Kit, as he transcends to a guy who doesn’t own a TV to a dying man with real feelings. He’s just as amazing as Luke Macfarlene was in “Bros,” because these two have a complex character study that makes us admire them.
What wouldn’t be a gay romcom (if you want to call it that) without conflicts, in-jokes, and turmoils that affects the two main lovers? Half of this stuff seems typical, but the other half seems funny and warmhearted. Again, they don’t call it “Spoiler Alert” for nothing, but how Parsons and Aldridge deal with the main tragedy makes them admirable.