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Coffee Date
cast: Jonathan Bray, Wilson Cruz, Deborah Gibson, Elaine Hendrix, and Sally Kirkland

Writer and director: Stewart Wade
94 minutes (15) 2006
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
TLA DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Christopher Teague
There are several adjectives I could use to describe this film, unfortunately they are of the non-committal variety; words such as 'nice' and 'sweet' spring instantly to mind, to summarise this romantic comedy that just so happens to feature a protagonist who isn't sure whether he's gay or not...

Jonathan Bray plays Todd, a divorcee who happens to have his brother Barry (Jonathan Silverman) staying with him. They are diametrically opposite, and it is Barry who places an ad for Todd on a dating website - unfortunately for Todd, and without his knowledge, the website is for 'men-seeking-men'. Over a period of several days, Todd and Kelly have discussions via e-mail and then decide to meet-up at a local coffee shop, again unbeknownst to Todd to be a local gay meeting place.

Being slightly niave, Todd doesn't realise that Kelly (played by Wilson Cruz) is male, so is slightly surprised when this stranger approaches him, yet they strike up a conversation and it quickly becomes apparent that there has been a mix-up. In an act of revenge, they decide to go back to Todd's place where Barry is taken aback at his brother going to bed with another man...

Despite its obvious low-budget appearance, and a cast made up of B-list actors from US TV (apart from Sally Kirkland, who plays the overbearing mother) Coffee Date is a well-meaning film that is neither original nor bad, but the central relationship between the uptight Todd and carefree Kelly, who just so happen to enjoy each other's company in a purely non-sexual way, is what drives the film with the secondary cast of family and friends unable to believe that two men - one gay the other straight - can be in such a relationship: Todd must obviously be in denial.

It could be argued that Coffee Date is a gay version of When Harry Met Sally and, to some degree, you would be correct, but Stewart Wade's script though whimsical does not have the class of Nora Ephron, also his direction is - excuse the pun - too straight, and not so loose as Rob Reiner: the film feels more of a stage-play than a piece of cinema, but all the cast perform well especially (as you would expect) Bray and Cruz. Overall, worth watching but do not expect a riotous comedy of errors.

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