DVD Review - People You May Know (2016)

The movie is advertised as about four friends, which leads one to assume that it's an ensemble piece, but, like most movies, some characters get more attention than others. Of the four, one is the clear protagonist. Two are obvious supporting characters and the fourth is just an afterthought. That fourth character isn't even put onto the poster. It's not as if the four characters needed equal time, but the way writer-director JC Falcón lays out this movie feels imbalanced like some characters needed more screen time, and others needed less, if not dropped all together.

Sean Maher (Firefly and The Playboy Club) stars as Joe Sanders. He emerges as the clear protagonist, mainly because he's given two story lines to juggle. One involves a surprise pregnancy and the second involves an online relationship. For a nearly two-hour movie, that's not too much, but with everything else thrown into the mix, Joe's story lines get distracted or not enough due diligence.

During a drunken and drug-addled night, Joe has sex with his ex-girlfriend, Delia, played by Andrea Grano. Some time later, he realizes that he got her pregnant. The problem is that Joe is gay and Delia is dating one of his best friends, Rodrigo, played by Nacho San José. Unfortunately, Falcón never shows us the scene of how the two ended up having sex. Falcón goes from the two dancing to the next morning where they're lying naked on top of each other on a couch. That edit literally creates a plot-hole, which never gets filled.

Both Joe and Delia were drunk and on cocaine, but, despite what anyone says, people don't just have sex by accident. Someone had to initiate. Both looked very coherent while they were dancing, so they must have been conscious of what they were doing while in the act. So many unanswered questions are then raised. How long was the encounter that at no point did either have a sober thought that they were committing adultery, nonsensical adultery because neither want to be with the other and it's not as if they couldn't get laid from someone else?

Once the pregnancy is revealed though, Joe pushes to terminate and Delia pushes to keep it. Because we have no clue what happened the night of conception, there's no real point of contention. Basically, Joe has to accept the baby and be a part of its life or not. It would have been more interesting if Joe wanted the baby and Delia didn't. Joe's resistance feels like it's more about the betrayal of Rodrigo, but he's upset to a degree that it's going to be some burden or great responsibility that doesn't come across as anything more than whiny. Joe is a writer but we're never really told what Delia does. Both seem wealthy enough that a baby wouldn't disrupt either of their lives that much.

Delia's resistance of an abortion doesn't resonate in the modern times. She admits that she knew Rodrigo was sterile, but she never says what her plan was if she never had sex with Joe because she makes this argument like she has no other options, especially at her age. However, R&B pop-star Janet Jackson announced this year that she was pregnant through natural conception and she's 50 years old. Back in 2001, celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz announced she was pregnant through sperm donation and she was 52 years old.

Trey McCurley in 'People You May Know'
Yet, as typical as it is, Falcón still could have mined the scenario for more drama. Yet, Joe comes around rather quickly. After about 65 minutes, more than half-way through, the movie abandons the whole pregnancy story line and the movie becomes all about Joe's online relationship. It goes into an awkward and potentially interesting place. It just comes rather late to have as great an impact. It feels rather disjointed from everything in the first half. Plus, the resolution is satisfying only on a prurient level and not on a dramatic one in that we never come face-to-face with the person to whom Joe was actually talking online and on the phone.

It doesn't even do what an episode of Catfish: The TV Series does. It provides this fantasy or gay wet dream where a devilishly handsome stranger whom Joe only knows in a few pictures all of a sudden falls in his lap and without much effort is able to get him. Given that tons of episodes of Catfish: The TV Series never results in what happens here, it's unrealistic. Yet, Trey McCurley (Hot Guys With Guns and Crazy Bitches) who plays Tom, the guy in the online pictures, the veritable Facebook stranger, is a tall, gorgeous and really sexy dude, so I can't blame Falcón for making a wet dream out of him.

Curt Hansen in 'People You May Know'
Mark Cirillo (The Seminarian and The Last Straight Man) co-stars as Herbert. His character gets really short shrift. He has a relationship with Nicholas, played by Curt Hansen, a relatively new actor to the big and small screen but who has mainly done theater. Herbert talks about his relationship with Nicholas, but the movie never really shows us that relationship, aside from a brief hike. However, Hansen delivers an amazing monologue about Nicholas losing his first boyfriend and coming out to his parents that's heartbreaking. It makes me wish Falcón had depicted more of Herbert and Nicholas, if only to see more of Hansen who in that scene proves he's a great talent.

There's a lot to admire about this film, a lot that is engaging. However, when watching this movie, all I could think about was a similar movie with a more comedic bent. Happy Endings (2005) with David Sutcliffe (Girlmore Girls) is the movie that came to mind. Sutcliffe plays the better version of Sean Maher's character or at least the version of a gay man dealing with sudden fatherhood in more compelling ways.

Not Rated but contains full-rear male nudity, graphic sexual situations and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 47 mins.


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