One-Note Romantic Comedy
Although sometimes amusing, Three to Tango relies on a one-joke emphasis that wears thin early on. Despite its three talented, bright, good-looking stars, this romantic comedy appears more appropriate for a TV situation comedy or Saturday Night Live sketch.
Matthew Perry plays a heterosexual forced to pose as gay because of a mistaken notion by his boss (Dylan McDermott), a wealthy businessman who has just awarded Perry and his partner (Oliver Platt) a lucrative architectural contract. McDermott, worried about his mistress (Neve Campbell), asks Perry to watch over her. After all, nothing can happen between a homosexual man and a straight woman, right?
Predictability abounds in Three to Tango, so naturally Perry and Campbell fall in love. Most of the laughs here come from Perry’s feeble efforts to live a lie. He’s especially funny during a girl-talk session with Campbell and her friends. He’s also quite humorous when invited to visit with Campbell while she’s taking a bath.
Campbell’s character seems the most superficial of the three. Because she’s supposed to be an independent artist with many admirers, we can’t help wondering why she decided to become the mistress of a pompous, self-absorbed tycoon. Filmmakers no doubt counted on McDermott’s sex appeal to answer that concern. Granted, he’s something to behold on the small or big screen. But he’s not very convincing as the bad guy here.
In the role of Perry’s gay partner, Platt chews the scenery even more than usual. That’s too bad, for he can do low-key, sensitive portrayals very well. His memorable work in Simon Birch proved that once and for all.
Believe it or not, Three to Tango could be classified as a milestone movie, for it’s the first film to depict vomiting as a romantic activity. Ugh! Here’s hoping it’s also the last one. Moviegoers don’t need exposure to such gross hurling ever again.
Although excellent music adds a bit of joy to Three to Tango, it would take more than a good sound track to make this movie swing.
(Released by Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures and rated “PG-13” for sex-related situations and language.)