Peter Paige in a Black Comedy
We love Peter Paige. He was our alter ego in “Queer as Folk” as Emmett, the gay guy who never stopped being himself no matter the situation. He continues that in “Say Uncle” (TLA Releasing) his big screen debut film. Not only does he star in the film but he directed it as well and it is an auspicious foray into the world of filmmaking.
Paige plays Paul, a gay artist who has centered his life on his godson. When the family moves away taking the boy with them, Paul is beside himself. He begins spending time at a local playground but some of the parents find it alarming that a single man would want to spend so much time looking at the children and controversy ensues. Naturally the parents band together against Paul and are led by the always fabulous Kathy Najimy.
We do not have many comedies about gay pedophiles and admittedly the idea does not strike me as a good one. But surprisingly this is a very tender and funny movie. Paige is, as usual, superb as he reinforces the feeling that I had about him when I saw him on TV.
As a hapless loner after his godson and family move to Japan, Paige shows the gamut of emotion as he is labeled as a pedophile. Coming out of that depression, he decides to relive his happy times with his godson by visiting the local playground and he is warned to be careful by his boyfriend Russell (Anthony Clark of TV’s “Last Comic Standing). Not only is Paul endangering himself but he is hurting the chance of a relationship with a guy who is sincerely interested in him. Russell warns him that “people might get the wrong idea”. Paul responds by pretending that he has no idea of the idea that is mentioned, brushes the sand off of a little girl and takes another to the bathroom. As expected a group of local mothers led by Maggie (Najimy) steps in to do something.
I sometimes felt that “Say Uncle” was dealing with the issue of the persecution of gay people but instead I realized that this is where the movie lost itself. I could not understand the nature of homophobia here as it was muddled. Even with its faults, I loved this movie. There were great lines and a lot of wit. It could have been so much better but even as it is I felt as I had seen a really good movie and, of course, I recommend it. Some reviewers have been very hard on this movie. I can’t understand why.
As I stated earlier, Paige gives a bravura performance but it could have been so much more and I think that the script is at fault here. Aside from the character of Paul, the other characters are poorly defined and those of us that know that Najimy is really out friend will have a hard time seeing her as an opponent.