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R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 10/21/1999,

Three to Tango

A struggling architect (Matthew Perry) is asked by his potential billionaire client (Dylan McDermott) -- who thinks the architect is gay -- to watch over his girlfriend (Neve Campbell) because he doesn't trust other men around her. The architect is straight, however, and secretly falls for the billionaire's girl. Meanwhile, word is out that one of Chicago's most promising young architects is homosexual. Chaos ensues. Laughing yet?

It wasn't funny when Kevin Kline did it in the inexplicably popular In & Out, and it's not funny now. Director Damon Santostefano desperately tries to inject some humor into the uninspired story by piling on the slapstick, but that only makes things worse. Perry isn't awful, he just leans too heavily on a less sarcastic Chandler routine, which is reduced to banality without the Friends to pick on. Campbell is teeth-grindingly irritating as the bubbly "free spirit" whose whine is more piercing than the one Campbell uses on Party of Five; her outfits, however, are cute. And McDermott makes good eye candy when he smiles -- otherwise his shifty-eyed, fakely grinning tycoon is so cartoonish, you expect him to reach up and twirl an invisible moustache. One in 10 persons will find this film predictable, disjointed, and tasteless. So will the other nine.

-- Jumana Farouky