Volume 93, Issue 31

Tuesday, October 26, 1999


Tango not entirely bad

BATS sinks fangs into predictability

Grand Theatre launches new fundraising efforts

Mos Def, Choke come out strong

Tango not entirely bad

Photo by Rafy
MONICA WOULD'VE NEVER LET ME TAKE HER TO A DIVE LIKE THIS. Fellow Canadians Matthew Perry and Neve Campbell heat up the silver screen in Three To Tango, which only cements Perry's status as a Jack Tripper for the '90s.

By Terry Warne
Gazette Staff

We all know the blueprint for a romantic comedy. There's a guy, there's a girl and at the end of the movie, they kiss. Therefore, the trick in making a good film of this sort lies in the execution of the storyline more than anything else.

Three to Tango, the new romantic comedy starring Matthew Perry, Neve Campbell and Dylan McDermott, does a good job of adhering to the formula, providing some genuine laughs along the way. Unfortunately, the film falls short of the standard set by Notting Hill, released earlier this year.

Notting Hill provided a tight, witty script, main characters who were deeper than a puddle of rain and a classic supporting cast. Three to Tango relies much more on physical comedy, using a script which is fairly predictable. The main characters inspire little emotion from the audience and the supporting cast is fairly forgettable.

Perry plays Oscar Novak, an architect hired to design a multi-million dollar museum for business tycoon Charles Newman (McDermott).

Through a misunderstanding, Newman is led to believe that Oscar is gay. Newman decides to have Oscar spy on his mistress Amy (Campbell), whom he doesn't entirely trust. Before you can say "out of the closet," the entire city believes Oscar to be gay – including his family and friends.

When the movie succeeds, it's because of Perry. Admittedly, he's riffing on his Friends' character, Chandler Bing, but he does so with a charm that's hard to dislike. Essentially, Oscar is a toned-down version of Chandler – he still cracks cute jokes at every opportunity, but he's not as much of a smart-ass. Adding to his comedic repertoire, Perry displays a deft knack for physical comedy. However, if he doesn't want to be hopelessly typecast as Chandler for the rest of his life, he'd better find a new schtick.

McDermott provides a turn as a sleazy, womanizing businessman. He is portrayed as an ass from the beginning – mission accomplished. Campbell is much harder to digest. Throughout the movie, it's hard to shake the feeling her character seems about 18 years old. Couple this with the fact she's having an affair with a dude who's chasing down 40 and the result is a little unsettling.

Also problematic is that practically everything Amy says and does suggests she would probably not have an affair with a married man. The audience is never given her motivation for doing so. The closest the story comes to divulging this is when she tells Oscar that the situation "works for her." Sorry, not good enough.

One aspect of the movie which deserves special mention is the sizzling swing soundtrack. The opening credits, featuring silhouetted swing dancers, comprise the best opening since the last James Bond film.

Other than that slight piece of innovation, Three to Tango is simply an entertaining diversion which will be referred to as "that last Matthew Perry movie" three months from now. All in all, a formulaic, albeit enjoyable, entry in the romantic comedy genre.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999