Three To Tango Review

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Matthew Perry is not exactly a relaxing screen presence. A bundle of nervous energy, all ticks and quips, he's quite capable of finding laughs in the thinnest of material. The ramblin' guy routine is his stock-in-trade and slots neatly into the ensemble surrounding of Friends. As a leading man, however, he just doesn't sit right. Or stand right. He's the kind of actor that inspires maternal feelings from an audience - you spend half of this film wishing he'd sort out his hair. Of course, hoping your leading man gets the girl is a useful predisposition for romantic comedy, but sympathy will only ever get you so far.

To be fair to Perry, Three To Tango does not falter through a lack of effort on his part. There's a "three" in the title, yet Matt spends most of the movie doing a desperate solo dance in the search for laughs. Neve Campbell is a wholesome, winsome young filly, but casting her as an irresistible force of nature? Please. Remember Meg Ryan trying to be gothic and kooky in Addicted To Love? Well, this is worse. As for Dylan McDermott (three TV actors in one movie? Is this a record? Is this some kind of joke?), faced with a criminally underwritten role, he turns in a mannered, mechanical performance, which is quite simply out of another film.

The point being, poor Perry desperately needs someone to play off. Even the mediocre The Whole Nine Yards realised you have to balance Perry's Jimmy Stewart schtick with Brucie's Cary Grant cool. Oliver Platt is not quite Cary Grant, but he is an accomplished comic performer, and when Platt and Perry share their all too brief screen time the movie fleetingly drags itself out of the doldrums. A proper romantic comedy with Platt and Perry as homosexual lovers... Now there's a movie worth making.