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THREESOME

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Review by Gordon Justesen

 

Stars: Lara Flynn Boyle, Stephen Baldwin, Josh Charles
Director: Andrew Fleming
Audio: Dolby Surround, French, Spanish, and Portuguese Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1, Standard 1.33:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: Director’s Commentary, Alternate Ending, Bonus Trailers
Length: 94 Minutes
Release Date: May 1, 2001

Film ***

Threesome, one of the first movies I saw to ever challenge political correctness prior to Chasing Amy, illustrates what I’m sure is a dream for pretty much every guy in college life, which is to have an attractive girl as a suite mate. It also illustrates what I believe most guys wouldn’t wish for, which is the totally complicated romantic triangle that develops between the two guys and the girl rooming with one another. It adds up to brutally honest and sincere comedy that touches issues most comedies wouldn’t even go near, so daring is another word to describe the movie.

The story is told from the point of view of Eddy (Josh Charles), who’s just arrived as a transfer student to begin a semester of college. His roommate is the unruly Stuart (Stephen Baldwin), the local campus swinger. They get along all right, though they find themselves constantly doing favors for one another. Eddy, who’s more clean cut and academically oriented, does numerous class assignments for Stuart, as well as house cleaning, and Stuart returns the favor with buying dinner for Eddy and teaching him the proper way to consumer alcohol.

All is normal, until a third party arrives, in the form of the very attractive Alex (Lara Flynn Boyle). Alex, who carries an obviously rare name for a female, at first feels that she is completely entitled to the room, and tells the two guys to clear the matter up with housing, who Alex later goes to and demands a room change. It turns out that she was the victim of a computer error, and the woman in the office refuse to even believe that she is, in fact, an actual woman. She is stuck, but the three attempt to make the most of it. Then an unexpected romantic chord strikes, when Alex reveals having a crush on Eddy, and Stuart is very much anticipating getting Alex into bed, while Eddy, being sexually inexperienced, strongly feels that is target of love might in fact be Stuart.

While the romantic angle might seem as complicated as anything, watching these three characters interact is the primary fun element of the movie. In most of the scenes, they behave like three obnoxious children, playing pranks on one another and so forth. They appear to enjoy one another’s company, but as we can for see, it will develop into a pure crisis.

One flaw in Threesome is the purely strange way it tries to resolve everything in the end. A strange, spontaneous event occurs with the three, and the scenes that follow are more or less anti-climatic concerning the path each of them will take as a result of what’s happened. I was reminded of the complicated conclusion to Chasing Amy, which threw me off when I first saw it, but after numerous viewings, I learned to accept. With this film, I still have the same opinion of the conclusion I had when I first saw it, and I’m not really sure if I am able to accept it.

Nonetheless, this is a nicely tuned, sexually charged comedy, filled with enormous insight concerning sexual politics in college life. Boyle, Baldwin, and especially Charles all give very good performances as three totally different young individuals who really discover something about themselves by the end. Writer/director Andrew Fleming, who also directed The Craft and Dick, has created a somewhat original and clever comedy that almost seems a little autobiographical.

One important note: the language in the movie is extremely graphic and explicit, which is necessary given the subject matter. I rarely bring this matter up in reviews, but I felt it was appropriate this time around. If you’re a softhearted viewer, be prepared for some raw dialogue.

Video ***

Considering that Columbia Tri Star chose to release this disc in the old school, double-sided disc style, I was somewhat surprised by the nice turnout of this particular transfer. Presented in both anamorphic widescreen and standard versions, I as always viewed the widescreen version. The picture is a good one, with colors vibrantly displayed and the image maintains a good clearness for the most part. I did detect some softness in a few scenes, but other than that the turnout is absolutely fine.

Audio **1/2

Columbia Tri Star only offers up a 2.0 Dolby Surround channel, as well as tracks in French, Spanish and Portuguese as well. The sound seems to pick up well with the soundtrack, but I detected numerous moments when dialogue seem to be mumbled unintentionally, which I don’t remember picking up on when I had seen the movie before. It happens only a few times, but for the most part it was a little annoying. Other than that minor quibble, an acceptable job.

Features **1/2

Not disappointing, but at the same time more was expected. Considering that Columbia Tri Star is pricing this disc at a budget price, the extras on the disc are certainly better than none at all. Featured is a full-length commentary by director Andrew Fleming, an alternate ending, and two trailers, not for Threesome, but for the other romantic comedies About Last Night and Can’t Hardly Wait.

Summary:

Threesome is a good choice if you’re looking for something with issues loaded up to give you something to think about afterwards. It’s as honest and sincere as a comedy can possibly get, and it also has an element of charm as well.