Single All the Way
Poster depicting a red Christmas ribbon tied around images of the main characters
Official release poster
Directed byMichael Mayer
Written byChad Hodge
Produced byJoel S. Rice
Starring
CinematographyÉric Cayla
Edited byAdriaan van Zyl
Music byAnton Sanko
Production
company
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • December 2, 2021 (2021-12-02)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryCanada
LanguageEnglish

Single All the Way is a 2021 Canadian Christmas romantic comedy film directed by Michael Mayer and written by Chad Hodge. The plot follows a gay man (Michael Urie) who convinces his best friend (Philemon Chambers) to pretend to be his boyfriend when he goes home for Christmas, only to be set up on a blind date by his mother (Kathy Najimy). Luke Macfarlane, Barry Bostwick, Jennifer Robertson, and Jennifer Coolidge also star.

The film was released by Netflix on December 2, 2021.

Plot

Peter, a social media strategist living in Los Angeles, is tired of his entire family asking him about his single status each year when he visits them for the holidays. He is excited to bring his new boyfriend Tim to New Hampshire to meet them, until he finds out that Tim is married when Tim's wife hires Peter's best friend and roommate Nick as a freelance handyman. Devastated, Peter convinces Nick to travel to New Hampshire with him and pretend that they are dating. Before they can announce their fake relationship, Peter's mother Carole tells him that she has arranged a blind date between Peter and her spinning instructor James. Peter reluctantly agrees with encouragement from Carole and Nick.

The rest of Peter's family arrive: his father Harold, his sisters Lisa and Ashleigh and their respective families, and his aunt Sandy, who directs the annual children's Christmas pageant. Harold privately tells Nick that he has always thought that he and Peter would be perfect for each other, and that Peter seems happiest when he is with Nick. Meanwhile, Peter goes on several dates with James, including buying a Christmas tree and a day of skiing. They enjoy themselves, though Peter repeatedly brings up Nick in conversation and he begins to feel torn between spending his limited time with James versus his family. He tells Nick that he is considering moving back to New Hampshire, to Nick's dismay.

Peter's boss calls him to tell him that they are abandoning their latest advertising campaign and instructs Peter to develop a new campaign, featuring "real people" instead of models, within the next day. Harold, who is trying to get Peter and Nick to spend more time together, suggests photographing Nick; though Nick is initially reluctant, the photoshoot is a success. Lisa's daughters, Sofia and Daniela, are also rooting for Peter and Nick to get together. They force Nick to admit to himself that he is in love with Peter, and they later pretend to fall asleep in Peter's bed so that he has to share Nick's bed. The next day, Sofia and Daniela talk to Peter who tells them that he has feelings for Nick but is afraid to risk their friendship. Aunt Sandy's Christmas pageant is a success thanks to the help of Peter and Nick.

Afterwards, Nick confesses his feelings to Peter, who is still fearful that a relationship could put their friendship in jeopardy. He tells Nick that he has decided to move back home. As Peter heads to the bar with James to celebrate the pageant's success, Nick packs his bags and prepares to return to Los Angeles, but takes on one more handyman job of re-painting a shop whose owner is retiring. James tells Peter that they are not a match for each other and that Peter belongs with Nick. Peter rushes home to find Nick gone. He sees Nick's rental car at the shop, and Nick tells him that he has paid the first six months of the shop's rent as a Christmas present to Peter, who has always wanted to open a plant store. Peter finally tells Nick that he is in love with him, and they share a kiss. On Christmas Day, they announce that they are dating and plan to move to New Hampshire together, to the delight of Peter's entire family.

Cast

Production and release

In March 2021, Variety reported that Michael Mayer would direct Single All the Way, a Christmas-themed romantic comedy about gay men, for Netflix. Most of the cast was announced at that time, as well as screenwriter and executive producer Chad Hodge and producer Joel S. Rice.[1] Hodge wrote the character of Aunt Sandy with Jennifer Coolidge in mind, saying that she was among the things that he "would want to see in a gay Christmas movie", without knowing at first whether she would agree to be part of the film.[2] Auditions took place in late 2020.[3] Michael Urie was asked to send an audition tape for the character of Nick, but felt that Peter was a better fit.[4]

Principal photography took place in Montreal, Quebec.[5] Kathy Najimy's husband, Dan Finnerty, was cast after he wanted to join Najimy in Montreal and learned that COVID-19 travel restrictions at the Canada–United States border required him to be working.[6] He wrote and performed two original songs ("Mrs. Claus" and "Single All the Way") as Kevin, a snow plow operator.[6][7] Ruth Coolidge of Screen Rant compared Finnerty's role in the film to his "similarly iconic role" as the wedding singer in The Hangover (2009).[7]

On November 10, 2021, an official trailer was released.[8] The film was released digitally on Netflix on December 2, becoming the streaming service's first gay holiday film.[9][10]

Reception

Audience viewership

During its debut week, Single All the Way ranked at number 6 on Netflix's top 10 weekly rankings for English-language films, based on its methodology of measuring a film or TV show by the number of hours it was viewed, with 13.82 million hours watched.[11] It also ranked in the weekly top 10 on Netflix in 42 countries.[12] In the second week of release, it had a viewership of 11.14 million hours and ranked at number 5 on Netflix's chart, while remaining in the top 10 Netflix rankings in 36 countries.[13]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 64% of 25 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.3/10.[14] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 49 out of 100 based on 6 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15]

The script was criticized for its usage of common tropes in Christmas romantic comedy films.[16] Though Benjamin Lee of The Guardian commented that the film's "overwhelming conventionality ... is kind of the point" as it places gay characters in a familiar setting, he felt that it was too formulaic.[17] Urie and Chambers were praised for their individual performances, but critics disagreed about their interactions on-screen. Ferdosi Abdi, writing for Screen Rant, commented that "the chemistry between the pair is palpable" and described Peter and Nick as "one of the strongest depictions of a couple" within the Christmas romantic comedy genre.[18] On the other hand, Teo Bugbee of The New York Times felt that the two actors were not close enough in many scenes and that it was even "difficult to believe the pair as best friends".[19]

The film's depiction of gay characters in an everyday setting, without sexuality-based conflict, received praise.[9] Critics applauded Peter's accepting family, though some felt that their interest in Peter and Nick's relationship was excessive.[16][20] Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Carla Meyer complimented the film's incorporation of various aspects of gay culture, contrasting it with the Hallmark Channel's The Christmas House (2020), which she criticized for "narratives that de-emphasize sexuality and promote their 'just like us' qualities".[20] Coolidge was also praised for her performance, which Jude Dry of IndieWire described as "a far cry from her typical middle-aged ditz breathiness", though others felt that her performance was limited by the script.[9][17]

Accolades

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2022 Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Streamed or Televised Movie Joel S. Rice Nominated [21]
2022 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding TV Movie Single All the Way Won [22][23]

References

  1. ^ Donnelly, Matt (March 23, 2021). "Netflix Lands Gay Holiday Rom-Com 'Single All the Way' From Tony-Winning Director Michael Mayer". Variety. Archived from the original on November 18, 2021. Retrieved November 27, 2021.
  2. ^ Oliver, David (December 2, 2021). "'Like a gay dream come true': Netflix's first gay holiday rom-com 'Single All the Way' relishes in joy". USA Today. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  3. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (December 2, 2021). "Next Big Thing: Philemon Chambers on Starring as First Black Actor in an LGBTQ Christmas Rom-Com". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 3, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  4. ^ Schaefer, Stephen (November 29, 2021). "Michael Urie is 'Single All the Way' for Netflix's first gay rom-com". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on November 29, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  5. ^ Marine, Brooke (December 2, 2021). "Single All the Way Star Philemon Chambers Plays It Cool". W. Archived from the original on December 3, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Yohannes, Alamin (December 3, 2021). "How the foul-mouthed wedding singer from Old School ended up in Netflix's first gay holiday rom-com". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 3, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Coolidge, Ruth (December 3, 2021). "Single All The Way Soundtrack: Every Song In The Movie". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  8. ^ Ermac, Raffy (November 10, 2021). "Netflix's Single All the Way Trailer Is Here to Stuff Our Stockings". Out. Archived from the original on November 28, 2021. Retrieved November 28, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c Dry, Jude (December 2, 2021). "Single All the Way Makes the Yuletide Gay in Netflix's Cheesy Holiday Rom-com". IndieWire. Archived from the original on December 3, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Avery, Dan (November 29, 2021). "Make the Yuletide gay with these new LGBTQ Christmas movies". NBC News. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  11. ^ Doperalski, Daniel (December 7, 2021). "Netflix Top 10: Money Heist Holds Global Viewers Hostage; Power of the Dog Leads in Film". Variety. Archived from the original on December 8, 2021. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  12. ^ "Global Top 10". Netflix. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  13. ^ "Global Top 10". Netflix. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  14. ^ "Single All the Way". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  15. ^ "Single All the Way". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Metz, Nina (December 2, 2021). "Single All the Way review: Warmed over holiday movie tropes with a twist are still warmed over holiday movie tropes". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on December 4, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  17. ^ a b Lee, Benjamin (December 2, 2021). "Single All the Way review – Netflix's first gay Christmas romcom". The Guardian. Archived from the original on December 2, 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  18. ^ Abdi, Ferdosa (December 2, 2021). "Single All The Way Review: Netflix's Holiday Romcom Is Funny & Heartwarming". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on December 3, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  19. ^ Bugbee, Teo (December 2, 2021). "Single All the Way Review: Cookie Cutter Christmas". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 2, 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  20. ^ a b Meyer, Carla (December 2, 2021). "Review: Single All the Way might be the first truly gay holiday movie". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 2, 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  21. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 27, 2022). "PGA Awards Nominations: Licorice Pizza, Don't Look Up, Dune, King Richard & CODA Among Pics Vying For Marquee Prize". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  22. ^ "The Nominees for the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards". GLAAD. 2022-01-21. Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  23. ^ "GLAAD Media Awards: ‘Eternals,’ ‘Hacks,’ ‘Saved By The Bell’ Take Top Prizes" by Kirsten Chuba at hollywoodreporter.com