The new comedy from writer-director Andrew Fleming sees Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd as a bickering gay couple facing unexpected parenthood.
In time for this year’s Pride celebrations, Ideal Home attempts to observe the role of queer parents, but somehow loses its grasp. The American director purportedly had the idea on the back burner for ten years, and a decade is a long time for things to change, the film consequently not feeling as progressive as it should – though it is touching. Fleming, a gay parent himself, may have felt some catharsis from making this feature.
Coogan is an eccentric television star by the name of Erasmus Brumble, creating shows with his partner Paul (Rudd) in sandy Santa Fe. Unbeknownst to both, Erasmus has a grandson, Angel (later renamed Bill), who unexpectedly turns up to their home one day following his father’s arrest for drug dealing. The young boy, portrayed affectingly by Jake Gore, becomes the glue that holds together the bickering duo, whose relationship is slowly suffering.
Rudd’s weary, anxious Paul is believable, but Coogan’s Erasmus seems a farce, more like his alter-ego Alan Partridge than is necessary. This seems to have been the filmmaker’s inspiration, Coogan pushing the character to all levels of oblivious narcissism. At times the couple’s relationship seems realistic; at others, it’s more like a drawn-out joke. If Fleming’s objective is to make his audience see how “normal” same-sex parents are, it does not feel like an issue in this production; even Bill doesn’t see what the fuss is about. This makes the movie’s vision slightly strained, but perhaps would be more effective to zealously homophobic individuals.
Paul’s character development is interesting and progressive; initially paranoid and clearly not ready to be a parent, it is warming to see him ultimately become a very caring father to a child who is not his. There are little quirky visual segments which produce titters, such as when Erasmus is seen wearing a t-shirt that reads “I shaved my balls for this?” when the Child Services representative visits, but the comedy remains lacklustre as a whole.
When the credits appear it’s a relief, though it poignantly shows pictures of real-life gay couples and their children. What has been named as “this year’s must-see comedy” is a far cry from what it really is: a passable drama.
Ideal Home is released nationwide on 6th July 2018.
Watch the trailer for Ideal Home here: