Time: 92 mins.
Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress (Cusack).
I know I shouldn't have expected much from this film since it's entire plot was someone's brainstorm from watching Tom Hanks accept his Oscar for PHILADELPHIA. In real life, Hanks thanked his high school teacher and told the whole world that his teacher was gay. Since everyone in that town already knew, it was no real surprise. However, what if they didn't? (This was the brainstorm). It's an interesting idea and cast to perfection, but there just isn't enough of a story here to be great. Kline gives one of his best performances as the teacher in denial, but his sexual awakening is not to be believed. The film handcuffs him from the get go with the ridiculous premise that a man in his 40s would be unaware of his sexual preference. This idea creates a wonderfully funny role for Joan Cusack as his long-suffering fiancée, but it's just utterly untenable. That and the fact, that he couldn't be more stereotypically gay if they tried.
Of course, everyone should have known Mr. Brackett was gay because he's neat, well-dressed, hasn't slept with his fiancee and loves Barbra Streisand. Pardon me, but I really don't think these qualities can be found in every gay man, and I'm sure some of them relate to straight men as well except for the Barbra Streisand thing. I understand that this is a comedy and they're trying to reach the widest audience, but I don't think the filmmakers give us enough credit. Instead of honestly exploring the situation, it's treated like a two-bit joke, something he can just as easily change back. Would people really be so surprised (except for the fiancee)? I know outing someone in a small town would be big news, but since he didn't know either how can everyone be so upset? Though Kline brings an honest poignancy to the part, he seems to be playing "gay" instead of portraying a regular person with an unexplored side to his personality.