Type: Feature presentation
Metro Weekly Rating: (4 out of 5)
YOU CAN TELL right from the start that Mulligans is going to be a very WASP-y family drama because it starts on a golf course. And everyone drives nice cars and the moment an uncomfortable topic comes up, it's quickly deflected by offering food or a drink. It's the perfect setting for a drama-filled summer when long-ignored secrets surface.
The outsider intruding into this uptight world is Chase (Charlie David) who is spending the season with the Davidson family at their summer place on the lake. While his best friend Tyler (Derek Baynham) doesn't know that Chase is gay, daddy Nathan (Dan Payne) catches the secret handshake, because it's been his own secret since marrying Tyler's mother after a teen pregnancy. Stepford mom Stacey (Thea Gill) is the most uptight of all -- one can only imagine how this revelation is going to make her snap. There's much conflict - between best friends, husband/wife, wife/other man - but it's always maintained at a very low burn. Like I said, WASP-y.
First-time director Chip Hale could be accused of making a film that feels way too made-for-television, a Lifetime Channel original movie if you will, but the restraint he shows when melodrama would have been so easy is a real accomplishment. He needs to steer clear of the angst-filled montage of all the characters looking into the distance, but otherwise he deserves credit.
David finds a nice balance between overwrought and cheesy. He does have some laugh-worthy one-liners worth stealing for yourself. Queer as Folk's Gill, a staple in gay shows and films, does a fine job and Payne, who has the most changes to navigate, is very strong as the newly-out Nathan. His performance is muted but real.
In golf, a mulligan is a chance to take a shot over again. In Mulligans, no second shot is needed. The movie gets it right the first time.