Spoiler Alert (2022)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) and Ben Aldridge star in this gay twist on Love Story, based on the autobiographical book by Michael Ausiello. Parsons is the shy, awkward guy and Aldridge plays the cool, outgoing one. Somehow, their unlikely friendship blossoms in New York City over several years. But as the title suggests, tragedy strikes when Aldridge’s character is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Spoiler Alert‘s greatest asset is Jim Parsons, whose kind face and warm personality make you want to spend time with him in any movie or TV show. The film also features two-time Oscar winner Sally Field (Norma Rae, Places in the Heart) as Aldridge’s mother, who is cast for obvious reasons that are no less compelling when the time comes for her to shine. While the dramatic climax is predictable, it feels earnest and somewhat meaningful. Some of the film’s other best moments are its funnier ones, including the time Aldridge first comes to Parsons’ apartment and discovers his unhealthy obsession with The Smurfs.
On one hand, I commend director Michael Showalter and screenwriters Dan Savage and David Marshall Grant for exercising some restraint in the storytelling. Spoiler Alert is no more mawkish than its storyline intrinsically suggests. But on the other hand, it’s almost too subdued. The film wants to be a romantic comedy, but it (surprisingly) runs a bit low in both departments. Parsons and Field work wonders to compensate, but despite its uniqueness, Spoiler Alert is mostly ‘just another rom-com’. That gay guys can have their own installment in this proliferous and typically underwhelming genre is, I suppose, it’s own achievement of sorts. With Bill Irwin.