I Do


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Maurice Compte and David W Ross in I Do.
"Despite its heart being in the right place, I Do never does live up to its promise, thanks to melodramatic machinations and often preachy dialogue."

I Do may sound like the title of the latest Cameron Diaz rom com, but this drama, written by its star - and former Bad Boys Inc member - David W Ross is an earnest look at the lack of equality facing gay men seeking green card status in the US.

Ross plays Jack, a gay British photographer who has lived in New York since he was 17. His brother Peter (Grant Bowler) is also living in the city, along with his newly pregnant wife Mya (Alicia Witt). In a set-up that is like speed-dating a tragedy, the action zips forward seven years to a point where Jack has big responsibilities and a big problem with his visa.

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The only option to leaving the country, it seems, is to marry for a green card. This is Film Land so, of course, Jack's best pal, lesbian Ali (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) has just split up with her lover. But is she prepared to risk jail to help her buddy out? Sounds like a bad idea, right? And that's before sexy Spanish architect Mano (Maurice Compte) enters the fray. Everything and everyone - including the script - goes too far, too fast.

Despite its heart being in the right place, I Do never does live up to its promise, thanks to melodramatic machinations and often preachy dialogue. Ross makes the mistake of over-plotting, so that we're so busy concerning ourselves with the hows and whys that we never really get to find out who these people really are let alone get the chance to care. He also makes a personable lead but his grief seems to show up on demand, while Witt's main duty is emitting resentment.

Ali is more interesting but the chance to explore her position is as a pawn in the game is squandered in favour of making sure we get the message that married gay couples lack rights under the law. It's a fine point to make and one that has been a hot topic in the US of late, with part of the "Defence of Marriage" act being declared unlawful last year so that federal protections now apply to gay couples - but a fine point does not necessarily make for a gripping drama.

One of the nicest touches in the film is the character of Sam, played by long-time indie publicist and some-time actor Mickey Cottrell. He is the seen-it-all elder statesman of Jack's pals and gives a sense of how far the LGBT community has travelled in its struggle for equality even as much of the rest of the film shows how far there still is to go.

But while Ross wisely keeps things focused on the human drama rather than the bigger political issue, his dialogue feels choppy, as he tries to keep so many plots on the boil that he can do little more than dip in and out of his characters' clipped conversations. This is not helped by Glenn Gaylord's direction, which has a tendency to drift into pop video territory - complete with gushy tunes and far-too-on-the-nose lyrics. Still, this is the first-time out for Ross as a scriptwriter and the potential is here for better to come.

Reviewed on: 03 Nov 2013
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I Do packshot
A British gay man in the US tries to get a green card.

Director: Glenn Gaylord

Writer: David W Ross

Starring: David W Ross, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Alicia Witt, Maurice Compte, Grant Bowler, Jessica Tyler Brown, Mickey Cottrell

Year: 2012

Runtime: 91 minutes

Country: US


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