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Gray Matters


Gray Matters

Director: Sue Kramer
Runtime: 92 minutes
Cast: Heather Graham, Tom Cavanagh, Bridget Moynahan

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The "leaked" footage of Heather Graham and Bridget Moynahan's kissing scene in Gray Matters has been the biggest moment in lipstick lesbianism since the Madonna-Britney lip-lock of '03, and it feels just as commercially calculated. Sue Kramer's gimmicky romantic comedy about a brother (Tom Cavanagh) and sister (Graham) who fall for the same woman (Moynahan) eventually focuses on Graham coming to terms with her newfound sexual identity. But the change could hardly seem more casual and superficial, as if she were trading Sprite for Fresca. Somehow, she apparently got through 30 years of her life without ever reflecting on whom she finds attractive. She's a lesbian because the script deems it so, not because the film succeeds in providing any convincing sense of revelation.

The opening scenes sell viewers on the assumption that Graham and Cavanagh—two attractive people who live in the same apartment and do everything together—are lovers, not siblings. Horrified by that prospect, they set off to Central Park (with a borrowed dog) to look for singles. They come across Ms. Right in Moynahan, a gorgeous, agreeable San Francisco transplant who agrees to join them for a night out, and the trio hit off famously. By the next morning, Cavanagh comes home with the shocking news that Moynahan has agreed to marry him in Las Vegas the following week, but within that short period, Graham realizes that she's fallen in love with her, too. A drunken smooch on the eve of the wedding seals the deal.

Making her feature debut, Kramer attempts to do Woody Allen by way of Nora Ephron, but romantic comedies in that vein are only as good as their banter, and Gray Matters' banter is conspicuously sub-par. Graham and Cavanagh are supposed to be sophisticated Manhattanites, but they behave like overgrown children—the former bubbly and naïve, the latter a petty, simpering jerk. And dishonorable mention should go to Molly Shannon as Graham's overeager work chum, whose brazen provocations are like Sex And The City at its shrillest. Far from a watershed moment for lesbian coming-out films, Gray Matters has a queer sensibility that's several miles south of Will & Grace.