“Spoiler Alert”


Letterboxd (3/5), Imdb.com (6/10)

When the outcome of a film is already known going in (in this case, so much so that it’s more than apparent from its title, which is served up here with an all-too-obvious wink and a nod), the trick to making it compelling is to take a route to the destination that captivates and holds interest along the way. But, unfortunately, that’s where this fact-based gay romance/comedy/drama comes up a little short. Director Michael Showalter’s latest is a fairly formulaic tragic tearjerker that starts out rather conventionally and takes a little too long to get off the ground. Because viewers know what’s coming, there’s considerable nervous anticipation of what lies ahead, yet it’s only when the narrative switches gears to that aspect of the story that the picture starts to get interesting. The film’s concluding act successfully manages to earn the emotional response it seeks to evoke, but that’s only one portion of an offering that takes its sweet time getting there. The emotional home stretch will indeed tug at the heart, but it’s the sole sequence that brings out that response. The remainder of this offering is a mix of familiar turf with gay romantic tropes we’ve all seen before and humor that never really lives up to its potential (despite what the film’s trailer would lead one to believe and some of which is more than a little forced). It’s too bad that this release comes up somewhat wanting, especially given its truly touching portions and the fine performances of Sally Field, Bill Irwin and Jim Parsons in a role that finally establishes him as a TV star-turned-big screen actor who’s worthy of the movie roles he lands. “Spoiler Alert” is by no means a bad film; it just could have been better at doing what it set out to do.