In this family drama-comedy, writer/director Andrew Fleming shows the effects of sudden parental responsibility on a couple. Here the couple happens to be gay which does seem to add a few hurdles but the way it’s presented and handled shows them like any other families, filled with love, care, and the occasional argument. The characters written by Fleming are relatable and feel human, albeit very well-off, privileged humans. Here this comes into play but in an almost sweet way where the couple doesn’t really understand this child’s world but they do try their best to keep him happy while also raising him right. The way this and just about everything else is handled and brought to the screen creates a film that is easy to watch with only a few cringe-worthy moments that are done on purpose. The film is well-written, well-built, and well-directed.
Playing the couple having their not so peaceful lives uprooted are Steve Coogan as Erasmus, a flamboyant at times and sometimes needy television show host, and Paul Rudd as his long term boyfriend Paul, a man with a lot of patience and who cares more than he might show. The two of them make an entertaining couple to watch. Here both go for more restrained humor than has been seen from them in the past, something needed by the story and that serves it well. While both are interesting, Paul Rudd is the one who shines here as he often takes the forefront and the lead while giving a performance that is deep and layered. Steve Coogan is also good but Rudd really gets the most out of his part. Playing the child at the center of everything named Bill/Angel, Jake Gore gives a performance that helps create a character that is not too annoying, but just enough at times to create situations that help develop the stories and relationship between the leads. Also doing well, and even better than well at times, are Alison Pill as social worker Melissa and Jake McDorman as Beau, Erasmus’ son and Bill’s father. The cast was clearly carefully selected and directed in a manner to keep the quality of performances very high.
The cinematography by Alexander Gruszynski shows the action and locations in way that supports the story but doesn’t take away from it with carefully selected exceptions where the view makes the scene. They are shot stunningly and in a manner that showcases all the colors and emotions of the locations, may it be a beautiful hiking view or a ridiculously extravagant child’s birthday party.
Ideal Home is funny, touching, and full of heart. The film shows a super sweet family trying to make it work after being through the mother of all curveballs. The film looks and sounds great but what really pulls the viewer in are the humor and the performances. Paul Rudd particularly shines by being his usual self but with something more to it than his usual mildly goofy, sometimes aloof performances. Yes, what makes his fans love him is there, but it feels like there’s something more here, a more serious side, a family man’s touch. Ideal Home is a feel good kind of movie that viewers will want to see more than once.
FilmOut San Diego runs June 7th through the 10th, 2018: http://www.filmoutsandiego.com/