05th Jul2018

‘Ideal Home’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Steve Coogan, Paul Rudd, Jack Gore, Kate Walsh, Alison Pill, Jake McDorman, Lora Martinez-Cunningham, Frances Lee McCain | Written and Directed by Andrew Fleming

Ideal-Home-Poster-Hi-Res

Flamboyant TV chef Erasmus Brumble (Coogan) along with his director and long-term partner Paul (Rudd), are happy going through life playing as hard as they work. But suddenly they have to decide whether to grow-up or continue down their well-trodden path, when Erasmus’s estranged grandson, Bill (played by Jack Gore), unexpectedly turns up at their door, after his father is taken away to serve time in prison. Having another mouth to feed can always come with its strains, but the couple’s fears that they are not yet cut out to be devoted parents become apparent very quickly, with their lavish social lifestyle getting in the way of their duties as responsible guardians. As unsuited as this small family may initially seem, the loving bond they eventually form is threatened to be broken when Bill’s father warns he’ll take him away upon his release from jail…

A comedy starring Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan, from the director of Bad Dreams (1988) and The Craft (1996), may seem like a strange combination but if you consider that writer/director Andrew Fleming’s career has veered wildly from his horrific roots to comedy both on the big screen and on TV (but mostly TV) it makes much more sense. And what’s not to love about a comedy starring Rudd and Coogan?

Well, quite a bit actually.

For one Coogan essentially performs the same schitck he does in all his films, from the likes of Hamlet 2 (also written and directed by Andrew Fleming) to his “The Trip…” series, mugging for the camera and acting over the top. Which, honestly, might be the right angle from his character Erasmus Brumble given that the character is not only out and proud but also on over the top TV chef (think Keith Floyd levels of TV chef excess), but actually does nothing to evoke any empathy from the audience. Thankfully Rudd is his usual lovable self – eliciting the emotion this film needs to work and at the same time providing a lot of the films bigger laughs.

Speaking of laughs, at least Ideal Home features some howlers! From the explicit words Bill uses in a class report about his two gay granddads, to the coital shenanigans of Rudd and Coogan (“Oh, Dances With Wolves!”), Ideal Home features comedy of both the witty and the vulgar variety, both scripted AND visual – yet none seems as in your face as a film of this nature might possibly be, especially given Coogan’s overly-flamboyant performance. The film also features some spot-on observations of being offended, or causing offence, when talking and interacting with the gay community – these may be played for laughs but it doesn’t make them any less astute!

Unfortunately the laughs can’t sustain the Ideal Home‘s albeit brief running time and, once the situational comedy of the fish out of water aspect of the story is drained of all its possible outcomes there’s nowhere for this film to go and thus it runs out of steam, even at a mere 85 minutes! Bill’s father returns, takes Bill, then just as quickly as he’s taken Bill is returned to the family of Erasmus and Paul. There’s no [real] emotional reunion, just a brief “back together” montage and that’s that. Film over. It really feels like the script had no ending. Or worse still, no plot beyond “wouldn’t it be funny if a child had to live with his two gay grandads?”

Ideal Home is released in cinemas (on a VERY limited release) and on Digital HD from 6th July, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

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