Review / ‘Ideal Home’ (MA) ***

STEVE Coogan can be blisteringly comical; pathetic, raunchy, even adventurous (information about his off-screen life suggests that he’s comfortably straight).

In “Ideal Home”, he plays Erasmus, a screaming queen with an ego bigger than Texas, a celebrity TV chef on a local San Diego channel directed by his equally gay but more subdued off-set partner Paul (Paul Rudd). Their shared home is furnished and decorated in bad taste mostly showcasing Erasmus’ ego.

The filmography of director Andrew Fleming shows mostly TV series. Writer Andrew Fleming has a shorter one, mixing TV with real movies. With “Ideal Home” he spends enough time letting the viewer work out Erasmus and Paul’s relationship before introducing the film’s real challenge.

Several decades earlier, Erasmus tried sex with a woman, an experience he would rather forget, just as he would like to forget Beau (Jake McDorman) who arrived about 40 weeks later. And now, after a bitchy day on set, a freckle-faced, ginger-haired, little boy knocks on Paul and Erasmus’ door. Played winningly by Jack Gore, the moppet is quick to call Erasmus grandpa. He’s arrived because the cops have pulled Beau in for various misdemeanours. In time, he says he wants them to call him Bill. And when asked what he wants the celebrity chef to cook for him, he says he wants Taco Bell. Nothing else!

Among its themes, the film’s a 90-minute promotion of the Mexican-flavoured, fast-food chain. It satirises TV cooking series. It lampoons gay life gently, unabashedly, unreservedly and non-judgmentally. It’s a homage to family values despite obstacles.

Others laughed. Did I? Not a lot, but I did crack the occasional smile and found the whole dish not unpleasant.

At Palace Electric, Capitol 6 and Dendy

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