It's impossible not to love this Fabulous Independent Film Festival flick.
"Ideal Home" is a rollicking crowd pleaser. Audiences will definitely have a difficult time suppressing giggles and laughing out loud at this wittily scripted comedy about the power of love.
When a gay couple, Erasmus (Steve Coogan) and Paul (Paul Rudd), are suddenly saddled with taking care of 10-year-old Bill (Jack Gore), they freak out. Seems Bill is Erasmus' long lost grandson who he conveniently neglected to tell Paul about during their 10-year relationship. The timing is not exactly ripe for parenting in that Erasmus and Paul are constantly bickering with one another. Paul produces Erasmus' pretentious TV food show in Santa Fe, New Mexico. On a shoot, as Erasmus' ego is running amok, Paul remarks to a crew member that, "Part of me wants to stick around just to watch him die."
But as the two slowly warm up to Bill becoming a part of their family, Bill's father shows up, fresh out of prison, to take his son back. Paul and Erasmus are so devastated that their shared grief reignites the deep love they've had for each other all along, but kept at bay over the years.
Director-writer Andrew Fleming has created a gay adoption comedy with such heart and biting humor, not loving it is virtually impossible. He never sinks into preachy or sentimental overkill, but rather strikes the perfect balance between sarcasm and tenderness. Sets and scenes are crafted with such brilliant detail that they're downright delicious to visually devour. The scoring is as slick as the characters he has invented, who manage to nudge their way into our hearts.
All three of the actors in this jewel of a film beautifully play off one another. Gore sandwiches himself between Coogan and Rudd spectacularly and holds his own with two consummate pros. Casting could not have been more perfect.
But the dynamic that Coogan and Rudd share is an exceptional tour de force. Their precise comedic timing when interacting together is the stuff of great acting. Rudd gets the pessimistic lines and delivers them with such deadpan humor, it borders on cringe worthy. When Erasmus gleefully observes early on that Bill is so sweet, Paul replies that Jeffrey Dahmer also seemed so in the beginning until he raped and ate his victims.
"Ideal Home" excels on every level. Most of all, it totally allows us to immerse ourselves in positivity for 91 blissful minutes. And as Paul so hopefully points out, "Everything is temporary, except herpes."
"Ideal Home"was screened at this year's Fabulous Independent Film Festival (organized by the folks at Harvey Milk Festival). It was presented by Watermark and with special thanks given to the Sarasota Film Society. It can been seen on Prime Video.