“All Over The Guy” simple love story

Dan Bucatinsky and Richard Ruccolo in the romantic comedy “All Over the Guy.”

“All Over the Guy” has a simple plot as old as love stories or love itself.

Generally speaking, movie audiences like a love story, especially if it has all the essential elements.

It needs a couple who has chemistry together. Check.

It needs likable characters with at least a few complexities. Check.

It needs conflict. Check.

It needs the couple to be apart for a while, or at least a threat of separation, so we long for them to get back together. Check.
It needs humorous and clever, but realistic dialogue. Check.

It needs to have the couple gaze at each other in a way that either reminds us of the person we passionately love or makes us pine for somebody to love. Check.

And most importantly, it needs that emotional punch. It needs that moment in the end when we shed a few tears or get a lump in our throats because the pair either resolves a major conflict and goes off into the proverbial sunset – “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Notting Hill” – or the sad ones– “Casablanca,” “Love Story.” A big check on that point for “All Over the Guy.”

“Guy” may be a small budget, limited release movie, cast with mostly unknowns, but it’s still one of the richest, most honest love stories of the last few years. The fact that the main characters are both male should not stop anybody from seeing this little gem. But it probably will.

Too bad, because this is a cool movie. That the main characters are gay is not the issue. That two people are obviously attracted to each other, but one has commitment problems is the issue.

That life and love and not always easy, is the point. That parents can really screw us up if we let them, is the point. That life is a wonderful, funny mess, is the point.

Dan Bucatinsky wrote the script from his one-act play “I Know What You Are, But What Am I?” (But for the movie he changed the female character to a male) and stars as Eli, the shy, sensitive police blotter editor whose therapist parents treat him and his sister (Christina Ricci) like experiments.
Adam Goldberg plays Eli’s best friend Brett. He’s straight and uses Eli as bait when he finds out a girl he’s interested in (Sasha Alexander) has a male gay best friend. The straight couple fix up Eli with Tom (Richard Ruccolo, who is a sexy mix of Russell Crowe, Kurt Russell, Mel Gibson and Mickey Rourke).

The blind date does not go so well, but when they meet again, accidentally, things go better. Eli is ready for a relationship, but Tom has self-destructive tendencies, inherited from alcoholic parents, which hinders him from letting others too close.

But he does not want to let Eli out of his life. He enjoys going to the flee market with him and talking about movies like “In & Out” and the “Planet of the Apes.”

As Eli and Tom’s relationship goes up and down, their straight best friends get more and more serious. The straight couple is not near as interesting or as believable and honest as the guys are.

Lisa Kudrow from “Friends” and Doris Roberts from “Everybody Loves Raymond” (to name just her latest) are featured in funny cameos. The blunt Roberts is especially memorable. Andrea Martin is rather scary as Eli’s mother. Her condemnation of “In & Out” is a draw dropper.

It is the performances by Bucatinsky and Ruccolo that really shine in “All Over the Guy.” It was obvious from the first scene, when Ruccolo talks about his life at an AA meeting, that “All Over the Guy” had real promise in the acting department. Check.

Don’t be afraid, the movie is not sexually explicit. There is some frank talk about sex and the guys kiss passionately and wiggle around under the sheets a bit, but it’s all more about relationships then sexuality. Rated-R