The Broken Hearts Club

on September 29, 2000 by Mike Kerrigan
   Here's a "Boys in the Band" for the new millennium--a movie about friendship and how your pals are the people who drive you crazy and yet are the ones you turn to when you really need help.

   It is a bright, witty and occasionally brittle look at life in West Hollywood, one of the biggest gay communities in the U.S. It is being marketed as a movie where the protagonists just happen to be gay, but it is the sexual orientation that largely defines the characters and the film itself. Not, as they used to say on "Seinfeld," that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, it is the playing field that makes this movie what it is, which is very entertaining.

   There are some wonderful moments. After a series of shots with guys confessing to their hairdresser, another complains to his shrink that his friends at least get a haircut with their sessions. An actor breaks up with his boyfriend with an audition monologue. Somebody else is traumatized when his lesbian sister asks for sperm to impregnate her significant other. It's tightly written and creatively directed by TV's "Dawson's Creek" alumnus Greg Berlanti, and boasts a first-rate cast.

   But there is one curious, almost perverse, feature. Despite all the bed hopping, much of it albeit in the quest for a real relationship, there is not one mention of disease or prevention thereof; the only person who dies is an elderly gay gent who passes away of a heart attack. OK, so this wasn't a movie about AIDS. But to ignore that is like doing the history of World War II and being oblivious the Holocaust.    Starring Timothy Olyphant, Andrew Keegan, John Mahoney and Dean Cain. Directed and written by Greg Berlanti. Produced by Mickey Liddell and Joseph Middleton. A Screen Gems release. Drama/Comedy. Not yet rated. Running time: 98 min.

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