“FRIENDS AND FAMILY”–lots of laughs for all

“Friends and Family”

Laughs for All

Amos Lassen

“Friends and Family” is like a breeze on a hot summer day. It is one of those comedies like they used to make with plenty of laughs for laughs sake alone. The story is about a gay couple who are hit men for the Mafia. A situation like this leaves the field open for jokes about stereotypes but that is not what we have. Instead there are plotlines that are crazy and fun and are intertwined in plotlines that are chock full of wit and good jokes. In fact, the movie eschews stereotypes while using camp humor to the utmost.

This is by no means a great film but it is an entertainment and good characterization. Tovah Feldshuh gives a great performance and I have always loved her. It is good to see her in a movie that deals with the gay community.

I watched the movie twice. As I watched it the first time, I thought to myself that behind the jokes there is something else here so I watched it again and loved the story and the plot. When the parents drop in for a visit to Stephen and Danny and have no problem with the guys being gay. What they do not know is that they work for the Patrizzi family as bodyguard and enforcers. The guys do not have to pretend to be straight for the parents but they do have to pretend that they have real jobs so they pose as caterers. When the militia, a couple of drag queens, and two gay bodyguards get together, you can expect a bunch of laughs.

The movie gives a new twist on an old story. Granted some of the situations are not quite believable, they are still very funny. Some of the laughs come from classic misrepresentations—kept secrets, gay marriage, and disappointed dads. Nowhere does the film take itself seriously but the lovely message of truth and romance and being true to oneself runs throughout.

There is a good deal of sexual suggestion here and that is just what it is—suggestion. The gay guys do not even kiss on screen. The gay characters in the film are realistic and likeable and are the heroes of the action. This is the kind of movie that you go into having only the expectation of being entertained. The two gay men, Stephen and Danny, are good looking and great eye candy even though they never touch each other. The fact that they are gay is spoken of but not visible on the screen and several people have taken issue with this. It did not bother me in the least. I enjoyed the movie for just what it is—a good comedy.  Even without physical contact, the final scene is erotic and beautifully done.

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