Nathaniel Marston, Tom Archdeacon, Tom Arnold, Mike Starr, Dee Wallace, Bruce Vilanch, Kirsten Lea, Rick Karatas, Emrhys Cooper
Rick Karatas, Tom Archdeacon
Gravitas Ventures/Breaking Glass Pictures
We've had films about switching bodies.
We've had films about switching ages.
We've had films about switching roles.
Heck, we've even had films about switching genders.
It had to happen, and it finally does with Joey Sylvester's Walk a Mile in my Pradas, a holiday-themed comedy about two men with incredibly different lifestyles who find themselves, through the magic of Christmas, switching sexual orientations.
How did nobody think of this before?
Tony (Nathaniel Marston, One Life to Live) is straight. He's the kind of straight guy who'd like beat the crap out of you for even suggesting he's not straight. When his boss (Tom Arnold) hires him to work on a construction project designed by a gay man for a gay man, Tony's homophobia explodes into a slew of anti-homosexual jokes targeting the designer, Steve (Tom Archdeacon).
Then, everything gets really interesting.
When Tony makes a wish upon a glowing angel ornament, both Steve and Tony take decidedly pronounced detours. While these detours are filled to the brim with heterosexual and homosexual cliche'd behaviors, the script by Tom Archdeacon and Rick Karatas manages all of them with an abundance of heart, humor, honesty and, perhaps more than anything, a plea to become more understanding of one another.
While the cliche's are piled on full force, thanks to the film's talented cast the characters themselves never become caricatures. Nathaniel Marston is uncomfortably on the money early on while portraying Tony as a stereotypically macho, ultra-homophobe whose own masculinity seems to be threatened by anything resembling actual feelings. Rather than amping up a flaming homosexuality once the transition occurs, Marston gives us a Tony who, little by little, begins to actually "get it" and becomes more sensitive to everyone around him.
As Steve, Tom Archdeacon plays everything out in reverse yet does so believably and without exploiting the very issue the film is actually about. In the end, Steve discovers that his attraction to his boyfriend transcends sexuality.
Tom Arnold, who seems to have a knack for showing up in these lower budget indies, is perhaps the funniest thing about Walk a Mile in my Pradas. Archdeacon and Karatas have created a script that is filled with terrific one-liners, and Arnold has a knack for milking virtually every possible laugh out of a joke by allowing a line to linger or showing off just the perfect facial expression to companion the joke.
Among the supporting players, Lindsay Hollister is a hoot as Laura, an adorably overweight "fag hag" whose one-liners are home runs practically every single time. Director Joey Sylvester even landed an appearance by Bruce Vilanch, one of Hollywood's funniest men who is also undeniably out of the closet. Dee Wallace, yes the actress from E.T., is even here as Tony's mom, an English teacher who can't resist the impulse to correct everyone's English.
Walk a Mile in my Pradas is a terrific example of the independent spirit of Hollywood, a film that would likely never get touched by a Hollywood studio but has found a home with Breaking Glass Pictures, a fine indie studio that has picked up the film's international rights.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic