Picks and Pans Review: Roommates
NBC (Mon., May 30, 9 p.m. ET)
Our first glimpse of Eric Stoltz: He's sitting in a sunny, sumptuously appointed drawing room playing Chopin on the piano. Our introduction to Randy Quaid: He's slamming beers in a dingy bar. What this effete Harvard grad and slobby ex-con have in common is AIDS—and soon, an apartment in a residential hospice for people with the disease. It's like Gore Vidal and Archie Bunker sharing a phone booth.
You can see where this one is going: Antagonists slowly open up to one another, share their vulnerabilities and become intimates. Before you know it, Stoltz is shooting pool and Quaid is checking out Moby Dick.
The film is too schematic and sappy, but flashes of insight in the script and fine acting (Charles Durning and Elizabeth Pena costar) make this sob story far better than it might have been.
Still, it bothers me that Quaid has to be a hetero who contracts AIDS through a blood transfusion. Even at this point, the networks wouldn't touch with a zoom lens a film about two gay men. One straight guy apparently removes the stigma.
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