Three to Tango (1999) starring Matthew Perry, Neve Campbell, Dylan McDermott, Oliver Platt, Cylk Cozart, John C. McGinley directed by Damon Santostefano Movie Review

Three to Tango (1999)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Neve Campbell and Matthew Perry in Three to Tango

More than Friends for Perry and Campbell

To put it bluntly "Three to Tango" is sadly just another average, mainly daft romantic comedy but although I say sadly it is good fun, it is entertaining and although you may not get a mushy sensation from it, you will probably laugh. What makes "Three to Tango" enjoyable is that Matthew Perry and Neve Campbell work well together providing comedy and cuteness in bucket loads, just a shame that the storyline couldn't really match it.

Oscar Novak (Matthew Perry - Fools Rush In), an architect who is desperate to win a renovation contract from wealthy businessman Charles Newman (Dylan McDermott - Miracle on 34th Street), agrees to help him out with a small personal problem. Newman, who thinks Oscar is gay, asks him to keep an eye on his mistress, Amy (Neve Campbell - Wild Things), to make sure that she doesn't go back to her ex-boyfriend Kevin (Cylk Cozart), an American Football star. When Amy and Oscar meet, the two unintentionally embark on a night of one mishap after the other. But there is a spark between them and Oscar has to hide the truth that he's not gay in fear of being exposed. When he's selected as Gay Man of the Year by a prominent gay organization, the situation gets out of hand.

Neve Campbell in the bath in Three to Tango

I will be honest; whilst much of the storyline to "Three to Tango" comes across as very familiar I liked the fact that due to a series of unfortunate events Oscar is forced to pretend that he is gay. Of course all of this sets up numerous predictable scenes especially when he has to come out so to speak and admit that he is straight, but turning things on its head and having a straight guy pretending to be gay makes a nice change from a gay guy pretending to be straight, not that this hasn't been done before. But what is really good is that all the gay humour, and there is plenty of it, doesn't ever come across as being vindictive or intentionally homophobic. In fact "Three to Tango" doesn't take sides and treats everyone with a sort of respect no matter what the characters sexual persuasion is and this is part of why it is a fun movie rather than being cringe worthy.

What isn't so good is that "Three to Tango" is ruined by a throw away, cliche ending that leaves you feeling slightly deflated. For a movie which is nicely set at 95 minutes it spends 85 of those minutes building up the characters and their complicated relationships really working well to get us to empathise with them. In fact I would say many a director could learn from "Three to Tango" as to how to go about building up characters and a storyline which grabs the viewers attention. But then it all goes horribly wrong and all that work is thrown away by delivering an expectedly predictable ending but one which undoes everything which was so enjoyable about the movie in the first place. Characters break out of character, emotions are ignored and elements are wrapped up in such a hurry that you wonder whether the writers were short on paper when it came to finishing the story.

But for those first 85 minutes "Three to Tango" is enjoyable and that is mainly down to the pairing of Matthew Perry and Neve Campbell as together they light up the screen. Matthew Perry, who is better known as Chandler Bing in Friends, brings many elements of his famous sitcom character into his role of Oscar Novak, something I am not overly keen on seeing but here it works. Novak is likeable and due to misunderstandings you really do empathise with him, but also Perry manages to bring the character to life, making him naturally funny rather than over the top. Opposite is Neve Campbell who not only spends the entire movie being utterly cute but also offering up a mischievous side seemingly enjoying the flirtatious and sexy nature of her character. But it is the pairing of the two which works so well and you do get a sense of a natural chemistry between them.

As for Dylan McDermott as Charles Newman, well he gets truly relegated to a supporting role alongside the enjoyable Oliver Platt, which isn't a bad thing as although the movie is about a love triangle "Three to Tango" works best when focussed on Oscar & Amy.

What this all boils down to is that "Three to Tango" is enjoyable and as previously mentioned will probably get you laughing more than feeling loved up. But due to the rushed ending it will leave you feeling slightly disappointed. For fans of "Friends" in particular Matthew Perry's character Chandler Bing then this will probably be right up your street with a lot of similarities and of course Neve Campbell who is utterly gorgeous throughout the entire movie.