Three to Tango

Here's a sex souffle that falls so flat it makes The Story of Us look like The English Patient. This is the kind of movie that TV stars do when they're on hiatus and trying to squeeze one in. Matthew Perry, of Friends, plays an architect named Oscar (no relation to the award and no chance of winning one for this cheese, either); Dylan McDermott, of The Practice, is Charles, the big shot who gives Oscar a chance at designing a lavish cultural center in Chicago.

There's a catch: The married Charles, who mistakenly thinks Oscar is gay, asks him to spend time with his artist mistress, Amy, so he can find out if she's cheating on him. Naturally, Oscar falls for her. Neve Campbell, of Party of Five, is Amy, and she's by far the movie's happiest surprise. Face it, glum has been Campbell's middle name, what with playing an all-suffering orphan on TV and then being chased by maniacs in Scream and Scream 2. Three to Tango proves, if nothing else, that Campbell can light up a screen. It's too bad the movie doesn't give audiences anything else to smile about.

Perry could have phoned in his part, and the gifted McDermott is wasted. Co-screenwriter Rodney Patrick Vaccaro, formerly a creative director for an ad agency, says he based the script on his own experiences – he also married his boss's mistress. Now if only the movie packed the kinky punch of Vaccaro's reality. Blame director Damon Santostefano, a former standup comic, for the jokes that don't land. The scene in which Oscar, lusting for Amy, must pick up an award as Chicago's Gay Professional of the Year is a ghastly embarrassment. Ditto this stub-toed Tango.

From The Archives Issue 825: November 11, 1999
x