Three decades into a diverse career across TV and film, director Andrew Fleming (he of The Craft and Hamlet 2 fame) has finally finished his ten-years-in-the-making passion project, something he calls “a gay romantic comedy about two men who are drinking and arguing.”
TV celebrity chef Erasmus (Coogan) is an insufferable snob and the face of his own TV show, directed by his long-suffering boyfriend, Paul (Rudd). The pair live in a sprawling ranch in Santa Fe, entertaining friends with lavish parties and celebrating their own freedom with abandon.
That is until Angel (Gore) comes along. The troubled ten-year-old grandson Erasmus didn’t know existed, Angel has seen his loser father Beau (Mcdorman) end up in jail one too many times, and has sought shelter with the only family he has left.
Shocked, Erasmus is reluctant to let a child spoil his idyllic, borderline hedonistic lifestyle, while his lover Paul, initially uncomfortable with the revelation, is far more open to the idea of becoming a surrogate father.
And so the trio go on a journey of self-discovery as Erasmus sort-of learns to not be such a selfish git, Paul learns to love Erasmus despite his flaws, and Angel stops being such a brat.
Fleming based the plot on his own, similar experiences and clearly has a lot of heart invested in the tale, which makes it all the more surprising to find that, while the story is progressive in its outlook, the comedy beats rarely avoid cliche.
Cooking up a feast of Coogan and Ruud, with hints of Alan Partridge, should be a recipe for success. And yet Ideal Home is more lightweight than an undercooked soufflé. It’s like watching a scripted version of The Trip, but with more gay jokes and not enough Brydon.
For all the fun Rudd and Coogan have playing a bickering gay couple, the final act can only pay off the meagrest of set ups, thus the premise doesn’t pay off and the characters remain one dimensional right up to an ending that’s a little too well tied off.
While Coogan relishes the chance to camp it up – something he’s he is extremely funny in doing – Rudd provides a heart that hints at the film’s potential. He’s convincing as the put-upon lover of a flighty egomaniac, delivering subtlety where Coogan only deals in bravado.
As likeable as it is forgettable, Ideal Home is a few ingredients short of being fulfilling. And given the talent and effort that went into making it, that’s a genuine shame.