The Next Best Thing

Review Date:
Director: John Schlesinger
Writer: Tom Ropelewski
Producers: Leslie Dixon, Linne Radmin, Tom Rosenberg
Madonna as Abbie, Rupert Everett as Robert, Benjamin Bratt as Ben
A single, pretty girl who can’t seem to find the “right guy” ends up spending a drunken, sexual evening with her gay best friend (both agree that it was a mistake), only to end up with a baby nine months later. The two friends must then decide how they are going to raise the child, and eventually have to deal with what will happen when either one of them finds their real true love of their life.
Funny, emotional, dramatic, goofy, preachy and open-minded all wrapped in one, this movie is probably one of the best romantic “platonic” movies that I’ve ever seen. Okay, before I move on, let’s answer the question that everyone reading this review wants to know…yes, Madonna is pretty good in the movie! Can I go on now? Thank you. I liked this movie mostly because it actually rung original despite already having seen a few similarly themed “gay/straight friends liking each other” movies over the past few years. I think that the leads might’ve had something to do with that, since Madonna and Rupert Everett really seemed to love one another platonically in the film, and it worked! Perhaps their true off-screen friendship benefited the duo. Of course, you don’t really want them screwing in the movie, but their sincere charm as a couple, makes you want to see everything work out in the end. And boy, do things ever get sticky!

For a movie that does a good job of balancing the humor and drama for the first hour or so, prepare yourself for some tissue-time in the last half hour, when things get kinda rough. Of course, I don’t like to admit that I cry at films (although I will admit to crying as I watched the horror that was HANGING UP (2/10) a few weeks ago), this movie strung a nice, emotional tale to which everyone should be able to relate. In fact, the film has more to do with friendship, love and the acceptance of people’s differences, than it does homosexuality. Don’t get me wrong, the film obviously uses this reality as its basis of narrative, but in the end, the film succeeds in offering us a funny, emotional look at an atypical, or typical if you will, American family, in all its glory! Madonna is actually pretty good in it, and totally believable as a yoga teacher (that was probably her idea :), as is Rupert Everett, who may want to begin branching out after another great gay, friend role, since I’m guessing that there is a ceiling for such roles. I will admit that I didn’t truly buy into a couple of scenes that had Madonna crying, but overall, she certainly did a great job of having me appreciate her as this adorable, lonely girl just looking for the right guy (as opposed to the real “Madonna” that she is). And let’s not forget Benjamin Bratt, who also looks great in this film (you go, Julia!) and delivers his scenes with charm. And even more importantly, what about the bodies on these guys, eh? I mean, is it just me, or were Rupert and Ben competing for the best six-packs here? Wow. I am Jack impressed.

All in all, a very good movie that does a decent job of balancing its humor, its drama, its love and its romance. Go in, enjoy it and if you’re one to shed a tear or two every now and then, I suggest you bring some tissues. Now allow me to go put on some “Frank”.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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