This Gay Holiday Rom-Com Featuring Jennifer Coolidge Is as Good as You'd Hoped
'Tis the season for sipping hot toddies, unapologetically listening to the Kacey Musgraves Christmas album on repeat, and waiting until your boyfriend falls asleep to watch the latest seasonal Netflix rom-com (just me?).
The term "guilty pleasure" feels as though it was created for these very films. They're the movies you pair with that Chateau Diana bottle (6% alcohol is not wine) your co-worker brought to your housewarming party three years ago and the stained sweats you relegated to "laundry day" status in 2015. In fact, Netflix Christmas rom-coms are the laundry day of movies — never a first choice but sometimes a mentally necessary one.
Anyway, given what I know about the subgenre, I wasn't expecting much from Netflix's first gay Christmas rom-com, Single All the Way (what took them so long?). Would I laugh? Certainly, but more in the at rather than with vein. Would I cry? If on my period, absolutely. Would I come away from it feeling that my time had been well spent? Highly doubtful.
But approximately two minutes in it became clear that Single All the Way is not the typical made-for-TV style holiday film Netflix produces in bulk.
Peter (Michael Urie) brings his longtime friend and roommate Nick (newcomer Philemon Chambers) to visit his family in New Hampshire for the holidays. While Peter maintains that he and Nick are just friends, his family has always hoped there was something more between them. I know where it's going, you know where it's going, anyone who's ever cried while watching The Notebook knows where it's going, but it really doesn't matter — the journey of getting there is delightful enough to make up for any cliches along the way.
First of all, it's funny — like, intentionally. Part of that is of course due to the script, which was written by Good Behavior showrunner Chad Hodge and, notably, does not make me embarrassed to call myself a writer. But perhaps the greatest boon to the film's humor is the cast, the majority of which I would pay good money to publicly roast me. Single All the Way (mostly) skirts the cringe-worthy earnestness of every Netflix holiday movie ever made by employing the likes of (wait for it) … Urie, Kathy Najimy, Schitt's Creek's Jennifer Robertson, Barry Bostwick, and … JENNIFER FUCKING COOLIDGE.
There is not a single film that would not benefit from casting Her Majesty the Coolidge, and this is no exception. The White Lotus star understands exactly what we want from her in the role of Aunt Sandy, the town's egomaniacal Christmas pageant director. She wears Christmas ornaments as earrings and says things like "the gays just know how to do stuff … And for some reason, they're always obsessed with me." Perfection does exist.
Don't get me wrong, this is still very much a Netflix Christmas rom-com, replete with its requisite choreographed dance routines and farfetched familial hijinks. The difference here is that I am not ashamed by having pressed play in the first place. Netflix should take a cue from … itself. More of this (and less Dave Chappelle) please!