Single All the Way may stand out with its LGBTQ leads but it is still undeniably a cheesy bog-standard Hallmark Christmas film. Peter (Michael Urie) is heading home from LA to his family in New Hampshire, bringing along his best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) to pretend to be his boyfriend in order to avoid the constant single-shaming from his family. And like every fanfiction ever written they discover they actually were in love with each other all along.
Despite its painfully predictable plotline, this film carves its niche by being a truly and thoroughly gay film. Firstly, it features a cast of gay icons: Kathy Najime of Hocus Pocus fame; Jennifer Robertson who plays the delightful Jocelyn in Schitt's Creek and of course the star of the show, Jennifer Coolidge. Secondly, it makes a host of wonderfully niche and specific references to all sorts of things co-opted as queer culture, with my personal favourite being Peter quoting Madeline Kahn in the cult classic Clue with the iconic line “flames... on the side of my face”. All these little winks and nudges to the queer audience are demonstrative of the film's place and purpose - this is a film made by gay people for gay people. I would speculate that most straight audience members would see this film as little more than your average Hallmark movie with the female love interests copy-pasted out with male ones. But for those who have immersed themselves in queer culture, there is much more to love.
Single All the Way makes no missteps in capturing that wintry queer romance it promises, around every turn is a heart-warming or hilarious moment of embarrassing family affection or campy melodrama. Even the films central tension, a love triangle between Peter, Nick and Peter’s blind date James stirs about as much drama as you’d find in a John Lewis Christmas ad. But there’s value in simplicity and Single All the Way knows what it wants to accomplish and does just that - the tone is consistently relaxed throughout and every character is suitably silly and over the top (especially Jennifer Coolidge, she gives everything you’d expect from her and more). Peters relationship with his family is adorable and they all rib each other in very believable and relatable ways, Peter’s relationship with his nieces is especially touching as their distant but loving “Guncle”.
With a rather safe and predictable plot, this film may not be to everyone's taste. I would understand another viewer calling it too cheesy or too cliché, but as the cold winter nights role in sometimes, you just need a good slice of cheese with a heaping portion of romantic clichés to fill you up with festive cheer.