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Gray Matters

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Sam (Tom Cavanagh) and Gray (Heather Graham) are nigh on inseparable. Attached at the hip, these two would appear to be the perfect couple…if only they weren’t brother and sister. This seemingly minor obstacle acts as a catalyst for the two to begin a quest for the perfect mate for the other. You know it’s February when a film like Gray Matters unfurls at the box office.

But, Gray Matters is no color by numbers romantic comedy. While Sam quickly finds himself gravitating towards the radiant Charlie (Bridget Moynahan), Gray finds herself strangely attracted to Charlie as well! In short order, Gray goes through the whole cycle of denial, embracing her urges, and acceptance. Thank goodness she has her shrink (played by Sissy Spacek) to nurse her through this phase.

Debut writer/director Sue Kramer should be given credit for not churning out the standard romantic comedy clichés in Gray Matters. She manages to put an interesting and entertaining twist on a genre that has seemed painfully tired as of late. That being said, it’s a bit of a stretch that Gray would only begin having doubts/questions about her sexuality in her 30s.

For the most part, Heather Graham does a solid job in portraying the confused and bewildered Gray. Graham is always pleasant to see on screen and her turn in this film is no exception. While it’s not totally believable that she hadn’t questioned her sexuality in 30 years, Graham’s performance is consistent enough.

However, the performances that really shine in Gray Matters are those of Alan Cummings, Sissy Spacek, and Molly Shannon. Cummings plays a suggestive cab driver who helps Gray explore the other side, Spacek does a convincing job as Gray’s shrink, and Shannon is hilarious as Gray’s co-worker. Sue Kramer should also get kudos for a great cast.

Less inspired is the performance of Tom Cavanagh as Sam. Yes…he’s charming, he’s handsome, he’s smart, and a pretty good dancer. But, in the company of Gray the aforementioned bit characters, Sam pales quite a bit in comparison; Kramer could have rounded Sam out a bit.

Gray Matters is not perfect, but in the wake of Must Love Dogs and the more recent, virtually universally panned Daddy’s Little Girls, Sue Kramer’s romantic comedy debut looks nearly transcendent in comparison.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars


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