Movie Review - I Do

David W. Ross (left) and
Jamie-Lynn Sigler in "I Do"
This movie is topical but now it's totally dated. It was released a month before the Supreme Court ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA.  That ruling essentially eliminated the problem that is at the core of this movie. Even if DOMA had not been undone, watching this film, I don't think writer David W. Ross does a good job of building that problem and establishing proper stakes, or stakes that are high enough to make you care about the protagonist's plight. It does spotlight an aspect of the immigration debate that doesn't get a lot of attention.

David W. Ross (Quinceañera and 200 American) stars as Jack Edwards, a man who was born in England but who came to the United States at 17. He came over as a student and stayed. After school, he got a work Visa and was able to continue living in New York City, but now in his thirties, his Visa has expired and he has to go back.

Obviously, he's been in the U.S. for over a decade, maybe two, so Manhattan is his home. Add to that, he has a sister-in-law who was widowed while pregnant with a daughter named Tara. In the wake of his brother's death, Jack became a surrogate father to Tara. Aside from Jack's relationship with Tara, which isn't cemented as it could have been, the other things that supposedly bond Jack to America aren't given enough weight. It's not as if England is some horrible place. It's unfortunate, but I never got the sense why going to his home country would be as big a tragedy as Ross is trying to sell it.

Tara's mom, Mya, isn't all that supportive when Jack tells her that he's being kicked out of the country. Jack has a good job in photography but it's a step down for a man his age and Jack isn't treated as well as he might like. With the looming threat, I don't see why Jack would be so opposed to returning to England.

Nevertheless, Jack comes up with a plan to marry his lesbian friend, Ali, in order to get his green card and avoid deportation. The problem is Jack is having an affair with a Spanish architect named Mano and is never around, which is worrisome because Ali, played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, thinks the INS will know they're lying and bust them. The dynamic between the two seems off. It's supposed to be, but the way the actors are together and some of their scenes, as written, just feel awkward. For example, there is a scene where Ali is watching Jack naked in the shower. Why? She's a lesbian.

Alicia Witt who plays Mya, the sister-in-law, has a few awkward moments with Jack. The moments aren't intentionally awkward, but that's how they play. I did like the appearance of Mike C. Manning who was basically playing the same character he played in eCupid (2012). Director Glenn Gaylord and David W. Ross do create some interesting images. The opening shots of people walking backwards as Jack walks forward, Tara reading to a tucked-in Jack, and Ali and Jack eating pizza in a tuxedo and wedding gown are all great visuals that they craft.

The ending to this film is a romantic compromise. It's one that was concocted without Ross anticipating the DOMA ruling. Yet, if Ross had made this movie following the Supreme Court decision, the trajectory of the story would still result in Jack having to leave the country, which is regrettable but ultimately he's very happy, so if the point is to make us feel bad about Jack's immigration problems, then Ross fails.

Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 30 mins.


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