Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Rainbow Bridge Motel (2018) Film Review
The Rainbow Bridge Motel
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Darren (Cole Burden) and Dean (Chris Modrzynski) are getting married. Alas, the hotel they have booked at Niagara Falls doesn't live up to expectations, its focus more on the city's industrial heritage than its famous waterfall. Dean, who is used to everything being done for him and had been anticipating a perfect romantic break, immediately gets cold feet, demanding that things be set right as Darren blunders around trying to find a solution. Incompetent owner Mr Shibbawitz (National Lampoon editor Scott Rubin) tries to persuade them that everything is really just super, but the couple - and their host - will have much more than this to cope with as pretty much everything that can go wrong does.
Although not strictly a National Lampoon film, this has much in common with that legacy. Nobody in its is actually a bad person, they're just rubbish in a way that can seem sympathetic and human or just pathetic, depending on one's standpoint. The jokes are overextended, the plot developments frequently forced and the production values poor. To get away with this requires a certain charisma. Lines need to be delivered with conviction; characters need to come across as genuinely impassioned. This film is sufficiently lacking in passion that one would struggle to believe the central couple love each other if they didn't keep saying so. If one roots for their wedding to work out, it's only because the chances of either of them finding anybody else boring enough to fall for them seem slim.
So does the film have any saving graces? A few. There is a genuine sense of warm-heartedness beneath all the hapless running about. The myth that gay life is easy now if effectively tackled through small observations about internalised shame and the wariness still necessary when showing affection in public. There's a surprisingly sensitive subplot about Dean's desire to be married as a Catholic that explores ethical tensions without demonising anybody. All this suggests that there were real ideas behind the story. The film might have done better to focus more tightly and develop them in depth. As it is, it's scattershot, always jumping from one thing to another. This works well enough in the character of Shibbawitz, but not in the narrative.
The film also resembles Shibbawitz in its floundering attempts at inclusivity. It really seems to be trying, but completely erases the concept of bisexuality and has some strange ideas about how trans men take hormones (many would wish it were that easy!). Whilst nothing is likely to offend, this contributes to a sense of clumsiness about the whole endeavour, as if the film were written, cast and shot within a week. It wants to presenting us with a comedic yet gripping story of love conquering all. Instead what we get is a huddle of underdeveloped characters waving their arms about and shouting at each other in a car park.Reviewed on: 26 Nov 2018