Rainbow Rant: Queer rom-com ‘Single All the Way’ delivers seasonal schmaltz
If anyone deserves a relaxing, feel-good holiday movie, it’s queer people in the year 2021
Netflix’s first gay holiday rom-com, “Single All the Way,” is exactly what a gay holiday rom-com should be: shmaltzy, comforting, covered in tinsel and twinkly lights and gay. Rest assured, it comes complete with a gaggle of shirtless Santas.
I’ll admit that opening of the movie had me worried because it does share a few tropes with “Happiest Season,” a lesbian holiday rom-com that I found surprisingly stressful.
Peter (Michael Urie) suffers a disastrous breakup when his roommate and best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) learns that Peter’s brand-new boyfriend is married with children. Nick makes this discovery while hanging holiday lights on top of the roof, but unlike Kristen Stewart’s character in “Happiest Season,” Nick manages not to fall off the roof. In fact, he keeps working on various rooftops throughout the movie and never loses his footing. I guess traipsing on rooftops is a universal queer holiday stereotype but falling off is just for lesbians.
Heartbroken to be single for Christmas once again, Peter begs Nick to come home with him and pose as his boyfriend. Lying to our families must be another queer holiday trope, as it is also the premise of “Happiest Season.” Thankfully, however, Peter’s plan immediately falls apart when he arrives home to find that his mother has set him up on a blind date. Nick encourages him to go, thus torpedoing Peter’s plan before it can ever get started. Thank God, because ew.
From there, “Single All the Way” is largely predictable. Peter’s family conspires to make Nick and Peter fall in love. The film is full of gentle humor, mostly derived from the lengths Peter’s family will go to support him and the always funny performances. Then, on Christmas morning, the best friends announce that they’re now boyfriends. Yes, I know that’s a spoiler, but don’t pretend you’re mad. It’s impossible to ruin a good holiday rom-com because the predictability is exactly why we watch them.
Reviews of “Single All the Way” have been mixed. While viewers have rated the film highly, reviewers have criticized it for being exactly as advertised: a gay Christmas rom-com.
I’m all for holding queer art to the very highest standards. And in the past, I’ve claimed that queer people have the potential to bring holiday films to new highs through camp culture. I stand by those remarks, but… If anyone deserves a relaxing, feel-good holiday movie, it’s queer people in the year 2021. “Single All the Way” delivers that, and only that, which was enough for me.