Plot: What’s it about?
Dennis (Timothy Olyphant) is about to turn twenty-eight as the time approaches, he wonders whether his friends are blessing, or in fact a curse. Of course he loves them and values their friendship, but sometimes he wonders if they’re worth all the trouble. His circle of friends includes Cole (Dean Cain), who seems to steal guys without even trying, but never holds onto them for too long, but Cole is just the tip of the iceberg here. He also hangs with Howie (Matt McGrath), who thinks all the time and can’t get over his ex, Taylor (Billy Porter), a dramatic guy who brags about his stable relationship, as well as Benji (Zach Braff), who is a sucker for a hardbody and often pays the price. The newest member of the circle is Kevin (Andrew Keegan), who is a little naive and in this group, who knows what will happen to him. The guys all play baseball for The Broken Hearts Club, as well as haunt the restaurant owned by Jack (John Mahoney), a wise elder who always has sage advice. When a tragic event happens, the guys find their friendship tested in all sorts of ways, but can they hold firm and help each other through the bad times?
It seems as though all gay themed films share the same flaws, they try to balance gay chic with mainstream appeal, which almost always results in a bad movie. The newest entry in the genre comes in the form of The Broken Hearts Club, which I thought showed some real potential. I’ve now seen the film and while I liked parts of the picture, it wasn’t all roses here. The movie has some humorous moments, but in the end, fails to break the mold of homosexual cinema. The characters are very stereotypical in all respects, which is something I figured gay cinema would stay away from, but all these efforts seem to fall right into the same traps. I have no problem with homosexual characters, but when they’re defined by that one trait, I lose interest in them and by turn, in the film itself. The Broken Hearts Club has some very funny moments, but not enough to sustain an audience, so I think this does little to advance gay films. It is good enough to warrant a rental however, especially with such a nice treatment here.
This film was written and directed by Greg Berlanti, who has worked on television’s Dawson’s Creek, but little else. I am sure he produces that series, but I am unsure if he writes, although I would imagine so after seeing this film. The writing in The Broken Hearts Club seems much like one of those sitcoms, where characters are thin and very predictable. But what works on a half hour television show doesn’t work well in a feature film, which is more than obvious here. I didn’t see much from the writing or direction here that impressed me, so let’s hope Berlanti sticks to the small screen, shall we? The cast of The Broken Hearts Club include Zach Braff (Endsville, Getting To Know You), Dean Cain (Futuresport, No Alibi), John Mahoney (She’s The One, In The Line Of Fire), Mary McCormack (Mystery Alaska, Deep Impact), Andrew Keegan (Independence Day, 10 Things I Hate About You), and Nia Long (Boiler Room, Big Momma’s House).
Video: How does it look?
The Broken Hearts Club is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame edition also included on this dual layered disc. I admit I wasn’t stunned by this visual treatment, but I assume this is as good as this flick can look. The image is solid in all respects, but just lacks the shine to move up into the elite level of transfers. I saw minimal signs of compression errors and such, while the print used seemed clean enough at times. The colors look natural, but have brightness when needed, while flesh tones seem normal and warm as well. The contrast is a little weak at times, but I think the black levels are usually well balanced, so no real complaints. It all looks terrific, but doesn’t have the gloss to earn higher marks, although I doubt anyone will be let down here.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc houses a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but due to the nature of this material, you’d never know it from your speakers. This flick is all about the vocals, which are well presented and never falter in the least. The words sound crisp and clean at all times, with no errors in terms of volume balance. The musical soundtrack adds some spunk at times, but not as much as I’d like, though I won’t complain much. In the end, this track does the job it needs to, but little else since this material simply doesn’t allow for much dynamic presence. This disc also includes both 2.0 surround tracks and subtitles in English & French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
I was pleased to find some nice extras here, including an audio commentary track with director Greg Berlanti and producer Mickey Liddell. The two more than fill the air space here, with various stories about the production, as well as some humorous anecdotes. I knew this wouldn’t be a technical track, but some deeper insight into the creation process would have been nice. Even so, this track is more than worth a listen if you liked the flick. You can also view seven deleted/extended sequences, which include optional audio commentary as well. The scenes were better than I expected and in truth, I feel a couple of them should have been left within the picture. The disc also includes talent files and the film’s theatrical trailer.