I’m starting to think that the reason that a lot of the gay men – especially those who aren’t into endless one night stands – are having trouble in the dating field is because they’re all sat at home writing movies about how difficult dating is for them. Really, we need support groups so these people can meet one another, as if these films are anything to go by, each of them thinks they’re the only one, when actually there are trillions of them – none of whom seem to speak to one another.
Ben is 35-years old and single, but he’s definitely looking for love. He tries out video dating and the world online, but none of them works out. His friends think he’s a commitment-phobe, while simultaneously trying to set him up with just about every gay man they meet. Then Ben notices a guy jogging by his house, and while he deliberately makes sure he’s around every day to see him, he never makes a move. After the situation is forced, he discovers the man is Grey. The two hit it off, but despite their spark, will their differences keep them apart?
While amusing and sweet, Shut Up & Kiss Me’s problem is that it seems to think it’s got something new to say about the problems of modern gay relationships, especially for those in their 30s. The issue with that is that it has the same thing to say as just about every other movie that thinks it has something to say about modern gay relationships. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean it all feels a lot more familiar than it think it is.
It also seems to be behind why the film tries to cover so much ground, to the point where it starts to feel unfocussed. The first half largely concentrates on dating, while the second half is about relationships, and in each part it throws in a lot of ideas from the fear of commitment and worries about sex to the issues surrounding HIV and how to negotiate between monogamy and those who’d like to play away. There’s so much going on that it doesn’t really have time to go very deeply into anything, merely pointing it out as if this were new information (which in most cases it isn’t).
However while it certainly has issues, Shut Up & Kiss Me is a nice, gentle and entertaining movie, and towards the end the romance between Ben and Grey becomes quite involving. It slightly dampens that with an ending that seems like a conclusion, but when you think about it is very one-sided and doesn’t really resolve anything. Ben wants monogamy but Grey feels he needs to have sex with other people, and while they talk a lot about that, the film doesn’t quite decide where to go with it, and so slightly fudges things.
If you fancy a gay-themed film that isn’t all about bars, pretty young boys and sex with endless amount of guys (although it does have some pretty sexy moments, including what may be the first erection (or at least semi) in a 15 rated movie), Shut Up And Kiss me works and offers plenty of amusing moments. However you may feel a slight frustration that it’s a bit unfocussed and would have benefitted from deciding exactly what it was about and concentrating on that rather than trying to mention so many different aspects of gay dating and relationships.
Overall Verdict: Shut Up & Kiss Me tries to stretch into too many places in its desire to cover all the bases of the gay dating world beyond the bars and stereotypes. As a result doesn’t have time to say too much about anything. It’s nevertheless fun, sweet and sometimes pretty sexy.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac