Let's face it, there's not gonna be a huge audience for a movie about the romantic trials and tribulations of the members of a gay amateur baseball team. Which is a shame. Why? Well, because, as sweet as it is scathing, as smart as it is sentimental, The Broken Hearts Club is easily the funniest player in the dating game since Swingers. You can imagine writer/director Greg Berlanti ticking elements off as he follows Doug Liman's blueprint.
Cast of good-looking, largely unknown actors? Check. Well-thought out, snappily paced but not overly complex narrative? Check. Script offering a steady supply of clever one-liners? Check: "Gay men are a bunch of 10s looking for an 11. On a good night, and if he's drunk enough, I'm a six." Handful of running gags? Check: hairdressers are gay men's psychoanalysts, everyone listens to Karen Carpenter. Plenty of catchphrases? Check. And double check.
But if all that The Broken Hearts Club had going for it was that kind of cold xeroxing, it would fail as badly as any of the films that have struggled to ape Swingers in the last five years. It succeeds because it realises that while Swingers had all of the above stuff, it wasn't about all
of that stuff. It wasn't really even about dating. It was about friendship. And so's The Broken Hearts Club.
These guys feel like they're friends. Their humour doesn't have the strained, squeezed-in-to-up-the-laugh-quotient feel that cripples so many wannabe relationship comedies. When they
place bets with each other about how long they can pretend to be straight or mock Hollywood films for their gay stereotypes (cheery buddies of the female lead or the waifish people with AIDS) or lay into each other for being too pretty, too easy or even just too gay, the insults and one-liners feel natural. And, frankly, that makes all the difference.
Pretty, witty and gay, The Broken Hearts Club is a hugely enjoyable film. A dip into dopey melodrama halfway through takes only a fraction of the shine off a cheekily inventive, acid-edged, soft-centred and laugh-out-loud funny movie.