Danny is a little shit. He’s an arrogant layabout who expects the world to come to him. He’s finished college after all… why people aren’t breaking their neck to offer him writing work. It’s a mystery to him but not to us. Danny is the antihero of his own story in a terrifically droll comedy DATING MY MOTHER which will play as part of Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival 2018.
Danny spends his days doing something resembling yoga and walking his mother’s displaced dogs. He says he is over Grindr and his love life, now that he is back in the suburbs and one of the few ‘in the village’, is pretty grim. Lots of time to spend with his mother, Joan. He lives with her in a cosy arrangement. He shops and gossips with her, they watch old movies together and they even share a bed as the mattress in his room hurts his back. This is Danny-world.
So it stands to reason that Danny will bring the fagspite when, aided and abetted by Lisa their neighbour, Joan begins to date. Danny will feel dumped. Left to his own devices now and actively hostile to Chester who seems from straight world dating heaven, Danny is definitely headed into trouble. And all on his own. Isolation is not any LGBTQI person’s friend.
More befuddled than bitchy, Patrick Reilly is so much fun as Danny. He sees the world from his own perspective and other points of view are only there for the ignoring. He is in every scene and not afraid to make his opinion known … about anything! Reilly delivers his lines with moues and an archly above it all physicality that gives real world grounding to a character who could be campily overplayed. There’s no flaming or screaming here. His ability to delightfully guide us around Danny-land is what makes the film work.
Director and writer, Mike Roma, has included some hilarious scenes of Danny’s fantasy life. In one Swipe Right sequence the absurdities of gay dating and hook-up apps are explored with a frustrated, funny and ultimately fruitless reality. Roma is known for his very successful web series DANNY THE MANNY and in this, his debut feature, he brings a queer sensibility that meshes beautifully with the straight world in which Danny finds himself.
Joan, played by LAW AND ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT’s Kathryn Erbe, is a wonderful Mom. Her love for her son, her inner conflict about dating again and the enthusiasm with which she embraces life are beautifully evoked in a gentle, sweet and supportive characterisation. We want her to succeed in her love life too and it looks like she has struck paydirt on her first try. James Le Gros as her match.com date, Chester, is just a nice bloke.
There might have been some pull toward giving Danny a macho adversary for Joan’s affection but Le Gros gives us an understated Chester, a man just getting on with it. The hysteria is brought by Kathy Najimy (SISTER ACT) as the neighbour Lisa in a couple of scene stealers that succeed in giving DATING MY MOTHER variety and a disarming silliness in an otherwise domestic comedy.
DATING MY MOTHER has been on the festival circuit to great acclaim, was invited to show at the prestigious NewFest (NYC LGBT Film festival), winning the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It’s a Freudian fresh take on modern life with light touch.
For more information about Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival visit: http://queerscreen.org.au/mardi-gras-film-festival-2018