Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/8/2012 (1846 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THE reality of legalized gay marriage is a relatively recent phenomenon that comes loaded with dramatic and comic possibilities.
It should have opened the floodgates for stories about unconventional couples given the fresh option of conventional partnering.
So what did we get from Hollywood? I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
Canadian writer-director Thom Fitzgerald attempts to fill the curious void with Cloudburst, the story of longtime lesbian couple Stella (Olympia Dukakis) and Dot (Brenda Fricker), living in enjoyable sin in rural Maine.
Dot is blind, and worse, she has an interfering granddaughter named Molly (Kristen Booth), a young woman stupidly blind to the nature of Dot's relationship with the foul-mouthed, cowboy hat-wearing, k.d. lang-loving Stella. When Dot is injured, Molly takes it upon herself to have the dear old thing put in a retirement centre, leaving Stella alone and, potentially, homeless.
Stella breaks Dot out of the home and decides the best course of action for both of them is to head to Canada to get legally hitched.
Along the way, they pick up the handsome young male hitchhiker Prentice (Ryan Doucette), who quickly discovers his deliberate display of abs has no effect on these ladies.
"Pull up your pants, kid," Stella growls. "You're humping the wrong fire hydrant."
The women determine Prentice may provide a good cover on the trip to Nova Scotia in the event police start looking for two old ladies travelling together. In fact, his presence allows director Fitzgerald a chance at additional family drama, a touch of rude farce and a more encompassing portrait of familial alienation. Also: male nudity.
Fitzgerald has noble intentions, but he falls headlong into a common trap afflicting movies about old ladies. He makes them too cute and too precious.
Dukakis is mostly responsible here. Given the role of a hard-drinking, porn-loving, old-school dyke, Dukakis overplays, cranking the character's idiosyncrasy and turning the volume down on her humanity. Fricker, bless her, manages a less patronizing portrayal and keeps her dignity, even when Fitzgerald contrives to have her accidentally crawl into bed with a naked man.
Cloudburst does have a few moments of effective rude comedy, and more than a hint of national pride when it comes to portraying Canada as a bastion of tolerance, at least compared to the more backward American states.
But when it comes to some kind of resonant dramatic treatment of the gay marriage issue, we're still waiting.
Starring Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker
2 stars out of five