Film review: Ideal Home

This story of gay grandparents feels sadly old-fashioned


In Andrew Fleming’s new comedy Ideal Home, Paul Rudd (Knocked Up, Ant-Man) and Steve Coogan (I’m Alan Partridge, Philomena) star as a bickering, hedonistic, gay couple who suddenly find themselves in charge of a wayward ten-year-old boy whose unexpected arrival forces them to rethink their own relationship and future together.

Partly based on Fleming’s personal experiences of living with a male partner and his son, the film has been a passion project for the director for over a decade, which would perhaps explain why, despite having its heart in the right place, the production relies too heavily on dated and cliché-ridden ideas to be completely believable.

Celebrity chef Erasmus (Coogan) and producer Paul (Rudd) have been a couple for over a decade. In between filming elaborate cooking shows and throwing lavish parties for their celebrity friends at their New Mexico ranch, the couple spend their spare time drinking heavily and arguing about the smallest and most innocuous things.

This inevitably changes when Erasmus’s estranged petty criminal son Beau (Jake McDorman) is arrested for theft and sent to prison, leaving his father and Paul in charge of his unruly son Bill (played brilliantly by Jack Gore). Predictably, relationships are put to the test and lessons are learnt as the couple slowly learn to take their responsibilities seriously, but not without a few bumps in the road.

While Fleming (Threesome, The Craft) should be commended for approaching the subject of gay parenthood (or even grand-parenthood) in a positive way, his methods, sadly, leave a lot to be desired. The screenplay is held together with outlandish twists and turns and all too often the sexual orientation of the main characters is used as the punchline to its unfunny gags. Ideal Home is therefore completely out of synch with the current wave of LGBT themed movies.

And while Paul Rudd, in full beard and hipster garb, puts in a beautifully measured turn as the long-suffering Paul; Coogan fails to convince in a role which is a far-cry from his usually faultless comic timing.

On the whole, Ideal Home manages to raise a handful of laughs throughout, but it’s hard to find much of value in this well-meaning, if a little misjudged production. “There is nothing like this out there. There’s no fun, romantic comedy about a gay couple.” Fleming told an interviewer recently. That was true when he had the idea ten years ago. In 2018, after films like Love, Simon and Call Me By Your Name, he needed a rapid reworking of the script to make this movie feel fresher and up-to-date.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive