Reviewers are supposed to avoid spoilers. Giving away surprise plot points, or even hinting at how things worked out, can ruin a movie for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. Three to Tango removes that burden from the reviewer. The plot is so obvious it's impossible to ruin the surprise for anyone. By the end of the third scene the audience knows exactly what will happen, in what order, right down to the obvious conclusion.
Oscar (Matthew Perry) and Peter (Oliver Platt) are partners in a fledgling architectural firm. They are trying to win the approval of Charles Newman (Dylan McDermott), a one dimensional rich/evil/spoiled developer. Amy (Neve Campbell) is his very unlikely mistress. Charles gets the mistaken impression that Oscar is gay, and gives him the job of checking on Amy to see if she's cheating. As Mr. Rogers would say "Can you guess what happens, boys and girls? Sure you can."
Oscar, anxious to get the contract, goes along with this and of course falls in love with Amy. To the surprise of no one in the audience, pretty soon everyone thinks Oscar is gay. His partner Peter, who really is gay, is both amused and appalled by the situation. Amy, feeling safe, of course starts to fall in love with Oscar, but thinks it's an impossible situation because he's gay. He can't reveal that he's straight because (can you guess it?) she'll know he lied to her.
A newspaper article about Oscar and Peter's partnership outs Oscar to the world. In one of the many plot holes that fill this flick, a gay pride organization hasn't selected the winner for their Gay Man Of The Year award ceremony even though it's being held in a week. They decide to give the award to Oscar, who was unknown to the gay community for obvious reasons.
This could easily have been an episode of "Friends meets Party of Five." Matthew Perry is playing Chandler with pratfalls added. Neve Campbell is cute enough, but often comes across as if she's posing for the effect. And Dylan McDermont's character is so paper-thin he just doesn't have anything to work with.
So why does a movie with no great acting and dozens of holes in a plot that's obvious, contrived and predictable, get three stars? Because it was funny. Much funnier than it should have been. The jokes were often as obvious and predictable as the rest of the movie, but they made us laugh, a lot. We could see half of them coming and we still laughed. Maybe we were just in a silly mood that night, maybe we were more forgiving than we should have been, but we laughed and then laughed and then laughed some more. If we were sophisticated and/or snobbish we might have felt guilty about laughing at something so sophomoric. But we're not, so we didn't.
This is a completely forgettable movie. You won't remember much of it the next day, and a week after seeing it you'll forget it completely. But if you're in the right mood, and not afraid to enjoy something stupid and goofy, it's well worth the rental.
Plot Holes: Everyone will be so impressed if my architects are gay.
Our Gay Business Man of The Year Award is next week, and we forgot to pick anyone for it.
Hey, here's someone we never heard of before, let's give it to him!
Chick: Although it's a romantic comedy, the romance is too cute and predictable to earn any more than a two chick rating.
© 2000 Dave Hitt
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