“Don your gay apparel!”
Genre: Woe Is Me…Likey That Guy Holidayness
New Holiday Spirit or Ghost of Christmas Past?: released 2021
Where I Watched: Netflix
Synopsis: Peter is sick to death of his Token Single Family Member status, so he asks his BFF Nick to come to his parents house for the holidays. Meanwhile, Peter’s mom has set him up with an absolute cutie of a gym instructor, Aunt Sandy has cranked up the holiday pageant to Waiting For Guffman-level, and his nieces swear that he and Nick are meant for each other. So basically, the more things change, the more they stay the same…crazy.
Worth the Eggnog? – Last year, Hulu dropped the adorable The Happiest Season, with Kristen Stewart playing Abby, who was trying to play it straight for her fiancée’s parents over the holiday season. This year Netflix gives the guys their Meet LGBT-Cute (fine I’ll stop) with Way. Season had me rooting for Abby to get with just about anyone other than her fiancée, with the side characters soaking up all my love. With Way? It’s the opposite; Peter and Nick are absolutely adorable together, but the rest of the cast is fine. Y’know, fine, like you’d describe a person you want to set up a friend with that’s lovely enough, but probably not a fit. As in “yeah, they exist”. Which is crazy, because this cast includes Barry Bostwick, Katy Najimy, and the goddess herself, Jennifer Coolidge. So what gives?
What gives Way its lack of…oomph, is its reliance on the same ol’ tropes and clichés we’ve seen a thousand times or more. Yeah, I took a moment to acknowledge the fact that a gay holiday love story can be just as eyeroll-inducing as any straight joint, but the total lack of familial chemistry between the characters that are supposed to be related made the storyline fall flat for me. It didn’t help that most of the scenes of family had these folks broken up into sub-groups. Yes, that happens with just about any other film that involves family shenanigans. But unlike winners like The Family Stone or Home for the Holidays, there’s a lack of heart when the family gets together. It’s more a gathering of characters onscreen than characters we care about. I do have to shout out the awesomeness that everyone in Peter’s family is 100% cool with his being gay; it’s the being single part that they have a problem with. That’s refreshing as hell; there’s no Old Family Member Being Rude, or other tiresome gay tropes here. Nope, all the tiring tropes are purely of the rom-com variety.
Will Peter and Nick get together? Um, DUH. Is Peter’s blind date James an adorable cinnamon roll of awesomeness? Again, DUH – and it helps that he’s played by perennial Hallmark-hunk Luke Macfarlane. Is Jennifer Coolidge’s Aunt Sandy the absolute best, with plenty of wink-wink nods to her status as gay icon? Double-dutch DUH. I needed something substantial to hang my heart on while the journey to Pete + Nick happened. And that, well, didn’t happen.
Think of Way as something to pass the time while you wrap presents, decorate cookies, or polish off that fourth glass of eggnog. Y’know, just like you’d do with any Hallmark or Lifetime holiday romp. Focusing on Way will only alert your brain to the fact that this isn’t quite a story, but a series of events that happen to include the same characters over and over again. Hey, that means Netflix can give us another adorable same-sex film really soon, right? RIGHT?
Score: 2.5 out of 5 Hos.