- December 16, 2021
Single All the Way is a new Christmas movie, and it is really something.
Starring Michael Urie, Philemon Chambers, and a family full of others (including Jennifer Coolidge), this Christmas flick is the first gay Christmas movie Netflix has ever produced. That’s exciting stuff!
I do have a few things I want to talk about, so let’s get right into the story.
Peter, played by Urie, is tired of his mother asking why he’s single. When he goes through a rough breakup right before Christmas, he asks his best friend Nick (Chambers) to come home with him and pretend to be his boyfriend.
This attempt to keep his mom (Kathy Najimy) from meddling doesn’t last long. She is ready and waiting to set Peter up with her personal trainer. James (Luke Macfarlane) is drop-dead gorgeous, and Peter is more than willing to go on a date with him.
This seems great, right? Wrong. Everyone in Peter’s family has wanted him to date Nick for forever. This is devastating for them. Clearly, they need to create opportunities for Nick and Peter to spend time alone together.
Plenty of family-centered shenanigans follow.
And hey presto, a classic Christmas story is born.
It’s heartwarming, too. Everyone in this movie really cares about one another. Sure, some family members cross a few boundaries, but that’s par for the Christmas movie course. All things considered, there’s a pretty healthy family dynamic going on. (And if not healthy, then at least stable.)
Did I love the film? No. I did not. I really wanted to, but this is not the kind of story upon which I can hang my affection. It was flat and predictable, and I was — dare I say it — a little bored from time to time.
Of course, plenty of people have noted that we don’t love Christmas movies for their brilliant plots or unique characters… which is a good thing, because they don’t have those. What they do have to offer is a sense of comfort and connection. Single All the Way offers those things in spades.
Critics have suggested that it was extra important for this film to follow the traditional holiday rom-com formula. Remember how I mentioned that this is Netflix’s first gay Christmas movie? It’s also impressively inoffensive. Peter and Nick and James and every other queer person onscreen are just normal people, living normal lives. Maybe this is a stepping stone — like, for example, Kristen Stewart’s Amazon Prime Original The Happiest Season. Representation really matters, and it’s better to splash around in the shallow end of the pool than just dip your toes in the water.
(Although I still hope that eventually we will reach a place where “inoffensive” does not have to mean “bland.” Tasteful representation matters but it doesn’t have to be boring!)
In summary: Single All the Way is fine. It’s a Christmas movie. It crams an impressive amount of tropes into an hour and forty minutes. And, of course, it reminds its viewers that love is love.
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