The Broken Hearts Club (2000)

The first time I watched this movie, I couldn’t relate to it at all. It dealt with friendships between gay men, and at the time, I felt isolated because I didn’t have any gay male friends. I’ve got acquaintances, ex-dates and ex-boyfriends, but when it comes to platonic relationships, all of them are with straight people, mostly women.

But for some reason, I wanted to see Dean Cain play a gay role, even though he doesn’t shed his shirt for his sorta gay sex scene in the movie. So I rented it again.

The Broken Hearts Club was the first feature film directed by Greg Berlanti, who would go on to create the WB’s Everwood and Jack & Bobby. Watching The Broken Hearts Club again in this context made sense.

The Broken Hearts Club makes for a good TV drama, but it isn’t that great as a theatrical film. (Which I’ve said before.) It’s billed as “romantic comedy”, and it does a good job of painting within the lines of that billing.

It’s got its whimsical moments — the breaks between scenes where gay slang is defined for straight audience members, the hair stylist who plays passive therapist, the banter between friends about finding the right guy.

And it’s got its conflicts — the gay brother who doesn’t want to donate sperm so his sister can have a baby with her partner, the on again-off again couple who can’t figure out why they stay together, the friend who falls through the cracks and gets too deep into partying and playing.

It even has a funeral.

The Broken Hearts Club is lightweight, a story set in the microcosm of gay relationships, where the line between friend and lover is sometimes the only thing that keeps real-life soap operas from spinning out of control.

It’s not as bad a movie as I first thought it was. The various storylines are plausible, and even the exagerrated moments aren’t terribly ridiculous. (Although someone please explain to me why black characters in gay movies, such as Billy Porter’s Taylor, are all high-strung queens?)

It still doesn’t reflect my reality — minority within a minority feeling invisible in a community outside the mainstream — but The Broken Hearts Club does a decent job exploring the degrees of connection between gay men. It doesn’t really make a viewer think, but it does provide a nice glimpse.