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Case Number 07150: Small Claims Court

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Everyone

TLA Releasing // 2004 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // July 8th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum wanted this to be "My Big Fat Gay Wedding," but found it more "my most depressing day ever."

The Charge

Grant: Do you know any happy couples?
Ryan: Do you know any happy single people?

The Case

Martin Amis wrote one of my all-time favorite books, one which I refer to daily, called Dead Babies. Now before you think I'm an absolute cretin, let me define a "dead baby" for you. In Amis's literary masterpiece, a "dead baby" is an event that pulls you down or dampens your life. A "dead baby" could be an unexpected tax audit, a sudden layoff, or bad news at an ironic time. Everyone is supposed to be a comedy about gay marriage, but instead it is a film filled with "dead babies"—both those of my Amis definition and the literal kind. It was made by a Canadian crew in 2004, but channels a grunge energy and a '90s sensibility from when angst and insecurity were the flavors of the day. Put some plaid shirts in the picture and let the Nirvana roll on the soundtrack, and you'd never guess the movie came out only a year ago.

Grant (Mark Hildreth, They) and Ryan (Matt Fentiman, Canadian Zombie) have been lovers for three years. Now it's time for them to tie the knot and make it legal, as only two Canadian queers can (right now). Neither of them is sure whether to call the ceremony a "wedding" or "unity blessing" or some other nonsensical title. All they know is a whole bunch of their relatives will be in the backyard while a chaplain joins them together in holy matrimony. They are waiting to hear those immortal words, "You may now kiss the guy!," "You may now kiss the bottom!," or something like that. So at first, you think Everyone is going to be a movie about two guys getting married, and the politics and emotions surrounding that.

Unfortunately, Grant and Ryan didn't invite any other gay people to this occasion—only their straight friends and family. Not only are these couples not bringing gifts or dressing up, but they all are going to bicker and fight about children the entire time. One couple lost their child on this exact day three years ago; another just announced their simultaneous pregnancy and divorce; yet another has had, unbeknownst to her husband, several abortions. The final couple has a surgeon husband grieving over a girl who died on his operating table. And the mother of one of the grooms is bringing a seventeen-year-old hustler (Brendan Fletcher, Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning) as her date. Nothing like a bunch of breeders to ruin a fabulous day! Grant and Ryan are about to see how ugly marriage can be—but don't worry. They'll find their own horrifically ugly way to ruin the ceremony, all on their own.

Everyone isn't a political statement so much as it is a cosmic cry: the world is full of unhappy people doing things to make themselves, and others, even more miserable. I had a hard time finding many of the situations funny, and an even harder time finding a character I actually liked in the movie. Everyone is bickering, bitching, and sleeping with anyone other than their spouse. This is the movie to show to anyone contemplating marriage—straight, gay, or interspecies. I think we may have found out why the "runaway bride" hit the bus station before "I do!"—she probably watched this flick and lost all hope. The movie is one big "dead baby" after another. Everyone is a movie about selfish people acting badly, and inflicting their dysfunction on each other in dizzying doses. Anyone hoping for an affirming comedy about gay marriage will have to find another movie; this is a journey straight into gay divorce.

The film is an ensemble piece with no recognizable stars, and looks very "art house" (in that it was shot on location quickly without any production values). It feels like a documentary. The editing is fast and furious, and the disjointed narratives of the fifteen leads are given to the viewer in short fragments, often less than a minute long. It has a frenetic energy, but it loses some depth, since most scenes are not allowed to develop any flow or resonance. The dialogue is witty, and there are certainly some great one-liners thrown in throughout the script. Most of the lines are scathing, but they do satisfy a much needed comedy element with their biting sarcasm. The cast is doing what they can; almost all of them seem to understand their characters better than what's allowed of the audience. Male nudity is generously sprinkled throughout the movie, with each male cast member getting to turn a cheek or two towards the camera, and only two of the women get to show any flesh. Still, the only frontal nudity is of a woman.

TLA offers a great transfer with solid sound translation. Everyone was shot on the cheap, and it doesn't look or sound spectacular, but the technical side of the disc supports the film as much as it can. Included are some deleted sequences, a text interview with the director, and production notes. It's a nice enough package, and certainly the company has done right by this title. They've provided their typical solid effort for Everyone.

I think if you are in the right mood Everyone could work. I'd recommend a day when you've experienced your own "dead baby" event and are looking for a cynical flick to make you feel like the rest of the world is suffering misfortune, too. Maybe the real political agenda of the film is to make American gays not so jealous of their Canadian brethren. Even though two guys can get married up in the Great White North, they can still end up intensely unhappy and surrounded by a mass of dysfunctional party guests who make them feel worse. Throw on some plaid, play some Nirvana, and enjoy the darkness of Everyone. With the lights out, it's less dangerous.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 65

Perp Profile

Studio: TLA Releasing
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Gay
• Independent

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes
• Text Interview with Director
• Production Notes

Accomplices

• IMDb








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