Title: You Should Meet My Son
Director: Keith Hartman
Starring: Joanne McGee, Carol Goans, Stewart Carrico, Steve Snyder
Distributers: Waltzing Penguin Productions
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Genre: M/M Comedy/Romance
Country of Origin/Language: USA/English
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Tj
Summary Review: An over the top, screwball comedy that although far from perfect, had me laughing out loud quite a few times, and squeezed in some poignant moments that tugged at the heartstrings.
The Blurb: Conservative Southern belle Mae Davis is horrified to discover that her only son is gay. But while Mae doesn’t know much about gay men, she is sure of one thing- her son deserves to be happy. And he won’t spend his life alone if she has anything to say about it. She’s gonna find that boy the perfect husband, no matter what it takes.
The Review: For some reason while writing this review I have this line from the Bob Schneider song 40 Dogs stuck in my head – “You’re the color of the colored part of The Wizard of Oz movie”. There was just something about You Should Meet My Son that reminded me of The Wizard of Oz. Odd, I know, but I think it was due to how the characters evolve from drab and lifeless to full living color.
You Should Meet My Son is on the surface a screwball comedy in the highest form. And in keeping true to this form, there is a much deeper message that is woven throughout the craziness. The basic premise is outlandish and it’s execution at times a little over the top (okay it’s a lot over the top), but because of this it’s also frequently laugh out loud funny.
The movie begins with what I think of as the black and white part, wherein we meet the characters who are initially somewhat flat, stereotypical, and black and white in their views – all living lives that are simply less than they should be. But until the metaphoric tornado blows through their lives, nobody has the motivation to make any changes to the status quo.
The cast gave some excellent performances. First there’s Brian, played with great feeling by Stewart Carrico, who loves his mother but is terrified that she’ll have a stroke if she finds out that he’s gay. So he’s forced to hide who he really is in a rather typical fashion, by pretending to be straight. Meanwhile he’s been living with a male “roommate” for 5 years! How his mother hasn’t caught on, I have no idea, but Stewart Carrico nails the repressed, “black and white” character.
Brian’s mother Mae, is played to perfection by the very funny and talented Joanne McGee. Mae is a stereotypical southern mamma, fixated on having grandchildren by any means, and ignoring all the clues to Brian’s true nature. Mae is initially rather meddlesome and a tad annoying, as she tries to find Brian a wife, but this also leads to some very funny family dinners. My favorite of these being one with the character of Suzanne (played by the hysterical Jaclyn Napier) who sees Brian for the gay he really is. She had some very funny lines – and felt like a breath of fresh air (or should I say a shot of color).
Next there’s the hysterical Carol Goans who plays the mousy and shy Aunt Rose. Rose is Mae’s partner in her quest to find Brian a bride and in my opinion has some of the best lines in the movie (and I loved her facial expressions). The whole scene when the ladies discover the power of the internet is priceless! I’m sure you can guess what they found.“How big are you – HOW BIG ARE YOU?” – just writing that makes me laugh. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Mae and Rose accidentally find out that Brian is gay, and after the initial shock wears off they realize that despite their conservative leanings, they love their son and nephew just the way he is and will do anything to make him happy – even find him a husband. This of course is the tornado that will open their eyes to all the colors of the rainbow that they were blind to before. And their companions on this colorful journey to finding Brian a husband are a terrific cast of characters – strippers and drag queens and twinks – Oh my!
Of these companions, I must give a nod to Acquah Dansoh and Matt Palazzolo who played two very fabulous (and funny) drag queens with very big hearts. And the insanely handsome Steve Snyder plays a stripper who is so sweet that you’ll just fall in love with him like I did. Can you believe he looks like this and has a degree in Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics? I don’t think he’ll be asking the wizard for a brain! And while we’re talking characters, I’ll warn you that you may find Ginger Pullman’s Jennie Sue to be a little grating with her sing song voice and vapid comments, but she sets up some pretty funny bits.
As I mentioned at the beginning, in keeping with the form of the best comedies, there’s a message woven throughout the film – in this case, it’s one of acceptance and being true to yourself. When very near the end of the film Brian’s Mom Mae finally has a heart to heart talk with him and says, among other things, that she loves him just the way he is, I frankly got a little choked up. That’s pretty impressive – that I was laughing out loud one minute and teary eyed the next.
And like The Wizard of Oz, there’s a story arc wherein the main characters all grow and seem to fully come to life. Not only does Brian learn that he needs to be honest with himself and the people that he loves and live a life that is genuine, but Mae and Rose both blossom and have their eyes opened to the infinite variety of people in the world and realize that they simply love their Brain just the way he is. If you’ll forgive my repeated Wizard of Oz comparison, it is simply wonderful to see them all at the end of the movie in living color.
So although not perfect and a bit slow in some places and quite over the top in others, You Should Meet My Son is a very enjoyable, light hearted romp with a message of acceptance and love.