When regular guy Bobby (Pete Jones) tells his meat and potatoes Irish-Catholic brothers that he is gay, they don t believe him!
An Irish Catholic family learns that the youngest son is gay. Self-accepting Bobby Riley, a Chicago architect, tells us right off the bat he's gay. But he s never told his three brothers. Bobby s relationship with them is close but centers around sports, drinking beer, and playing practical jokes not discussing private lives. And besides, Bobby appears to have a girlfriend, but actually Carly is a lesbian pal who plays along when he needs a date. Only Bobby s sister knows the truth about his life.
But now, Bobby s parents are both dead, and his sister has begun pressuring Bobby to come out of the closet. Bobby and his live-in boyfriend Andy would like nothing more than to drop the charade Bobby maintains with his lesbian pal, so he finally gets up the courage to do it. But when Bobby does spill the beans, his brothers assume due to his regular-guy demeanor that he's kidding. Besides, they're meat and potatoes Irish-Catholic, so Bobby simply can't be gay. Eventually, they all must come to terms with this revelations and as it turns out, each brother also has been holding back family secrets. . .
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1. the "gay" man and one of his pervy straight brothers spy on a teenage girl getting undressed, and actually crash through her skylight. I'm sorry, but no self-respecting gay man is going to do this to try to "pass" as straight... it's called breaking the law, it's creepy and we have more respect for women than this.
2. the "funny" syncronised swimming montage, complete with guys in speedos and bad disco music. This is such an offensive and bad stereotype I was actually dumbfounded that someone greenlighted this movie... come on... didn't he ask at least one gay man to read this script? I know there are queers in Hollywood... what's up with that?
The rest was nearly as bad and offensive... tragic and not in a good way. Avoid, avoid, avoid...
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The little sister, Maggie (Julie R. Pearl), is the principal piece that keeps the Riley family together now that both of their parents are deceased. Maggie stands alone in the family as the sole Riley family member who knows about Bobby's true sexual orientation and because of her unassuming yet pivotal role among the 5 siblings it was the most logical writing choice as the one who knows Bobby's "secret." Perhaps because of the choosing of a female character to harbor such surreptitious information, it was also a stereotypical writing choice. Far from originality, at one point Maggie even tells Bobby that she loved him like the sister she never had.
Stereotypes are abundant in Outing Riley, however and thankfully, Bobby's character was not...his brothers were! Talk about your typical misogynistic wanna be macho homophobic straight men. In addition to their womanizing ways Bobby's brothers were so juvenile you'd swear that these 3 very adult men (at least in age) were the modern day 3 Stooges. The brothers quickly grew tiresome but were crucial to understanding Bobby's predicament.
Such generalization of the brothers was clearly the impetus for Bobby's
extreme masquerade with his family, despite the fact that Bobby shares an apartment with his partner Andy (Michael McDonald) and as a result it is Maggie who eggs on and orchestrates Bobby's revelation. His façade included a beard and even participates in the silly "boys will be boys" antics of checking out chicks with his brothers. Predictably, Bobby's "straight" appearance and actions are not only deceiving; to his brothers it is down right deplorable when they learn that he is not straight.
Excluding the extreme, yet expected, response from the three brothers Outing Riley overall is neither heavy nor even close to a tear jerker. Instead Pete Jones, who stars as Bobby Riley, wrote and directed the movie, attempts to be comical and quirky while keeping the heart felt moments subtle and short. Even with a few fairly good laughs in Outing Riley, still missing was a genuine nuance of a gay sensibility. Such as when Bobby tells us that he knew he was gay when he "liked the sweet contrast of soft lips and bearded cheeks the first time I kissed my aunt rose!" Funny, indeed, but not something that a gay man would mark as a moment of sexual realization. Bobby's narrating went beyond the usual foretelling. Here, his unconventional complete character breakaway shots were partly peculiar, a little documentarish but mostly perplexing and interrupted the slightly interesting flow that the film had going for itself.
As a way to separate Riley as something of an anomaly amongst similar themed films Bobby tells us that his tale is a gay Chicago Irish Catholic story. In film, Bobby's story stands out, somewhat, only because of the context, a 30 something coming out as opposed to the usual late teen/early twenty something coming of age bracket that coming out plots is usually associated with. In reality, Outing Riley is anything but unique for most gays and lesbians are personally very familiar with the cultural war between the religious right vs gay and lesbian civil rights. However, with Bobby being gay and his eldest brother being a Catholic priest Outing Riley's clashing of two worlds within the same family gave the film a bit of an edge. Outing Riley may have fared a bit better if it had spent more time exploring this relationship between the polar opposites. Will blood trump the dichotomy within the Riley family? One of the few good writing choices in this film is that you will have to decide that question for yourself.
Riley is far from the worst or best gay movie you'll ever see but tepidly scores because it isn't a cookie cutter of a saturated narrative. Not to bad for a sophomore effort for Pete Jones (winner of the Project Greenlight competition sponsored by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck). Next time it might be wise to surround oneself with and /or consult with some actual GLBT folk before pen is put to paper.
Bobby Riley (Pete Jones) is an Irish Catholic closeted gay man living in Chicago with his partner Andy (Michael McDonald). Bobby is being pressured by Andy and by his informed sister Maggie (Julie Pearl) to come out to his family - a good Irish Catholic family of four brothers, a sister, and a dying father (Bob Riley). His facade with his brothers is a mime of voyeurism of 'chicks' and a beer drinking butch life. Each family member has a secret: Maggie can't hold a relationship and is unable to keep secrets; Connor (Stoney Westmoreland) is addicted to internet porn; Jack (Dev Kennedy) is a priest who has problems with the conflicts the church places on his own beliefs; Luke (the always outstanding Nathan Fillion) is a pothead. Once Maggie decides she must out Bobby, the brothers are conflicted: homophobia raises its ugly head despite the bonds of close family ties. How the family comes to grips with Bobby's being gay, individually and as a family, is the crux of the tale.
This is a fine cast (especially Fillion and Pearl) and the story rolls along at a fine pace. At times it feels 'dishonest' but that is in the script, not the acting. This is not a major film, but it just may be a helpful one to families and friends who are curious about the lifestyle of someone who has surprised them with a similar secret! Grady Harp, December 07
A lot of the problem I had with the movie is the predictable and often forced humor Jones employs to ingratiate the character to the viewer. In what strikes me as filmmaking laziness, he goes as far as breaking the fourth wall, speaking to the camera, and using freeze-frames to either provide thumbnail sketches of the principal characters or comment on the action. The set-up with the brothers is also pretty generic as they represent variations on the beer-guzzling stereotypes one would expect from a movie at least forty years older. Two are married - Luke is a pothead with twin daughters, and Connor is a John Sununu look-alike who surfs the Web for porn. Oldest brother Jack is a Catholic priest, which sets him up for the most challenging road toward acceptance. Once the key revelation occurs, the inevitable ramifications at least allow for the film's few honest moments, the most effective being Luke's angry voicemail message in response to what he sees as Bobby's betrayal.
In his acting debut, the cherubic Jones makes little impression as the bedeviled Bobby. Nathan Fillion, who would later play the smitten doctor in the late Adrienne Shelly's Waitress, fares the best among the actors portraying the brothers, and Michael McDonald of MADtv (not the singer) is surprisingly credible as Bobby's partner Andy. Julie Pearl is forced to play Bobby's sister Maggie as the nagging voice of conscience in order to facilitate the contrived plot conceit that proves disappointing toward the end. Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm, I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With) shows up in a cameo as a blowhard agency honcho trying to recruit Bobby believing him to be straight. I appreciate how Jones does not wrap everything up nicely at the end, although he sadly uses a stereotypical fantasy swimming number to get his point across. The much-delayed 2007 DVD features a commentary track from Jones, interviews and deleted scenes.
- Coming out story is the base of the plot, innit? Instead of making the relation between Riley and Andy more real, we are treated with scenes full of naked boobs, naked women)...
- There is no chemistry between those two gays. P. Jones remains straight during the whole film.
- The coming out moment is so fake. Slides? Who came with such lame idea in plot?
- Instead of fighting with stereotypes, this film confirms 'em.
- Some of the scenes are way too long or out of place
- The type of jokes used in the plot is quite simple (farts? playing with dirty language? maybe good for teen comedy, but not for "mature" film)
Good coming out story? "BREAKFAST WITH SCOTT", "BALLS".
"Outing Riley" it just a poor story made by straight guys who thought they were funny...Shame.