Bedrooms & Hallways

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Bedrooms & Hallways

As an unlikely companion to Kevin Smith's Clerks, 1994's Go Fish was a well-timed Sundance breakthrough, a similarly talky and frank no-budget comedy made just before such things became drearily commonplace. In the years since, director Rose Troche's mild blend of sass and gender politics hasn't seemed nearly so fresh, a problem that affects her long-overdue follow-up, Bedrooms & Hallways. A polished and airy romantic roundelay on sexual fluidity—the subject, coincidentally, of Smith's Chasing Amy—the film channels its most provocative ideas into rote, sitcom-level farce. Trainspotting's Kevin McKidd gives a sweet, self-effacing performance as a gay London artisan approaching 30 with diminished self-esteem and few prospects for a satisfying love life. His luck changes when he joins a New Age men's group and finds himself drawn to hetero Irish baker James Purefoy. To McKidd's surprise and delight, he finally opens up to his advances, but their bliss is dampened by Purefoy's longtime girlfriend (Jennifer Ehle), who just happens to be McKidd's old high-school flame. Troche's premise cleverly dissolves the set boundaries between gay and straight, but rather than explore the vagaries of human attraction and identity, she uses it as an engine for cute, overly theatrical comic shenanigans. Worse still is a subplot dedicated to the erotic misadventures of McKidd's flatmate (Tom Hollander), an insufferably "flamboyant" card in six-inch platforms and leopard prints who seems imported from every lame gay comedy of the past decade. Without the timing, novelty, or underlying seriousness of Go Fish, Bedrooms & Hallways drifts into anonymity.

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