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'Ideal Home' has a great big heart beneath its many laughs

San Diego audiences will get a chance to see "Ideal Home" at FilmOut's San Diego LGBT Film Festival on Friday, June 7 at 7 pm.  
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Ideal Heart

Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan pair up as unexpected daddies in Andrew Fleming’s hilarious “Ideal Home.” The two have perfect chemistry as aging and privileged gay men who get a wrench thrown into their celebrity lifestyle when Coogan’s 10-year-old grandson moves into their New Mexico home.

Paul (Rudd) and Erasmus (Coogan) are a couple;  the latter a huge reality TV chef and cookbook author so wrapped up in his personality and lifestyle he ignores Paul who’s grown a little tired and resentful of the circus.

Things only get worse when Erasmus’ estranged son Beau (Jake McDorman) gets sent to jail (over a Chanel purse), leaving his slightly homophobic son Bill homeless. On the guidance of his father, Bill travels to his grandfather’s house to live until his dad can get released.

Little does he know he’s about to enter a situation of being parented by two gay dads, sprawling booze-addled industry parties and struggles with his own fears. An oral report Bill reads in front of his class about things not to say when you have gay dads is so funny it may break you. It also leads to a parent/teacher conference. 

Paul and Erasmus are having troubles of their own. Paul is tired of living in Erasmus’ shadow, while Erasmus lives blissfully unaware in his own narcissistic world.

From heartstrings to humor, “Ideal Home” pulls on every emotion successfully. A certain scene involving a child protective services agent and an all-male porn collection serves as the film crowning comedic moment. And that says a lot because this movie is filled with genuinely funny bits thanks to the brilliant timing of its stars.

That includes the young Bill who must carry the dramatic parts of the film. He’s sort of the more depressed version of Patrick from “Auntie Mame.” He struggles with bonding issues and attachment, so much so he insists on being called Bill even though his real name is Angel.

Fleming wrote the screenplay and obviously knows the world of perfunctory conversations at grandiose dinner parties addled with name-dropping anecdotes that mean absolutely nothing while ignoring real emotions and relationship troubles that really matter. Erasmus doesn’t even know he has a grandson and his son can’t spell his name correctly.

Coogan and Rudd have perfect comedic chemistry; Rudd’s Paul, the responsible one, is so completely in love with his flamboyant partner he doesn’t mind sweeping up his insane messes while sacrificing his own dreams, but he does have his limits.

That leaves Erasmus’ irresponsible diva-ness to carry the weight of the comedy, slinging one-liners and “gay” quirks via sight gags (placing the perfect looking throw on a couch or wearing wide-brimmed Stetsons with a fur coat).

But it all works really really well. Fleming doesn’t pander for laughs and his cast shines, blending both comedic flair and dramatic emotion into a damn hilarious film that shouldn’t be missed.

Although “Ideal Home” is a classic fish out of water story and can sometimes slip into threadbare tropes, there is no denying the chemistry of its stars who laugh, cry and learn about what’s important and hopefully pass that message onto the audience.

Stay for the end credits filled with pictures of real LGBT families. 

San Diego audiences will get a chance to see "Ideal Home" at FilmOut's San Diego LGBT Film Festival on Friday, June 7 at 7 pm.