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Volume 34
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The mostly forgettable Ethan Green provides some laughs
The mostly forgettable Ethan Green provides some laughs
by Lorelei Quenzer - SGN A&E Writer

The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green

Directed by George Bamber

Starring Daniel Letterle, David Monahan, Diego Serrano, Meredith Baxter

Opens today at Landmark Varsity Theatre

Here's the nutshell: Ethan Green (Daniel Letterle, Camp) is a 20-something who goes through men like water through a sieve. Once he finds Mr. Right he always finds a way to screw up the relationship; his current future-ex is Kyle, a pro-baseball player who's recently come Out. Ethan's mom is an events planner specializing in Gay weddings, while his former boyfriend Leo is also his best friend and his landlord. Too bad for Ethan that Leo wants to sell the house they used to share! What will Ethan do? Where will Ethan live? Who will Ethan love?

Why would I care? Hmm. Part of the problem is that Ethan is flat and one-dimensional. We know that he's an assistant to a local weatherman (thanks to the movie's funny and stylish title sequence) but we never see him working. The script flashes forward so many times through Ethan's dating life we barely get a glimpse of an actual date. Other than choosing to go along with an impossible scheme to postpone the sale of his house - instead of getting off his ass to find a new place - Ethan's quirks aren't personal so much as they are stereotypical.

One of the odder premises of the film (and, I assume, of the comic strip) is that, at age 26, Ethan is compelled to find his soul mate and settle down. What were you doing at 26? Oops, pardon me, young readers: 26 might seem ancient to you, but to your elders it's a perfectly natural age to still be sowing oats, wild or otherwise. His lack of self-knowledge isn't nearly as frustrating as his expectation that he should have it all together. As the parade of ex-boyfriends strolls by, the question isn't, "Why can't Ethan commit?" but, "Why do so many guys want to commit to Ethan?"

Some die-hard fans of Eric Orner's comic strip, on which Ethan Green is based, are mightily peeved that the actor cast as Ethan is a light-haired brunette instead of dark-haired. Come on, that's like saying Daniel Craig can't play Bond... er, oops. It's also the least of their worries. I'd be more upset that Letterle's Ethan, while pretty, is also pretty uncomfortable with the romantic scenes: he can't kiss a man to save his life. (I'll bet his hugs are just as awkward, so you can forget about that Heimlich, too.)

The film isn't without charm. David Monahan, who I loved in "Dawson's Creek" as Jack's first serious boyfriend and am equally smitten with in "Crossing Jordan," is more convincing than Letterle (and for my dime, cuter) as Ethan's nebbish-y ex, Leo. Dean Shelton is a scene stealer as the twink real estate agent who's just after a good time - someone give him a star turn in a movie or tv series, please! - and Diego Serrano, as the hunky ballplayer, will have you drooling. Unfortunately the script doesn't do Meredith Baxter ("Family Ties") any favors, as she stretches credulity as Ethan's mom. Fans of the comic strip may understand why she's living with one of Ethan's many exes, but the rest of us are left thinking, "Huh?"

Bottom line: if you lower your expectations to average you'll probably be pleasantly surprised. I laughed several times, but I also wanted to slap some sense into Ethan - several times, and not in a good way - so it kind of evens out. The good news is that it's an appropriate movie for a serial dater: the funny scenes are forgettable enough so you could see it over and over, each time with a different guy from your little black book.

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