The perfectly imperfect Ideal Home
Words: Damien Woolnough
22th June 2018
Just like the perfect wedding, the Ideal Home is easier to imagine than create. With Ideal Home, writer and director Andy Fleming has created a layered portrayal of a gay couple and the impact that a child has on their relationship, while staying within the boundaries of intelligent comedy thanks to stars Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd.
"Ideal Home is the most personal movie I have ever made," Fleming said of the film. "It is fiction, but composed of ideas and characters and moments I have lived through."
The honesty at the film's heart helps centre the general fabulousness of reality show chef Erasmus (Coogan) and his partner in life and production Paul (Rudd). Their Santa Fe life looks ripped straight from the pages of Elle Décor, while their flawed relationship more closely resembles RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked.
When Erasmus’s long lost/forgotten grandson (Jack Gore) arrives on their doorstep the film examines the impact it has on their relationship as emotions, needs an inequalities come to the surface.
There are the usual life adjustment laughs thanks to the child’s preference for Taco Bell over home-cooked cuisine and an old school DVD porn collection but Ideal Home keeps a foot in the realities of today’s America.
Fleming hopes that the film’s depiction of a child's need for love, will help counteract the current political climate where legislations was recently introduced in Georgia in 2018 allowing discrimination against parents in same sex relationships.
"Having, with another gay man, helped to parent a child myself," Fleming started, responding to the proposed legislation. "I can only express dismay and scorn for any legislation that restricts gay people from adopting or parenting in any way."
“The film is very important for our time,” producer Teresa Arida says. “Because people embrace causes, but then they forget about it.”
“We fought a strong fight for marriage equality, but the struggle is not over. We forget how much America is not necessarily as accepting or inviting as we’d like to believe.”
Despite the political terrain the characters of Erasmus and Paul don’t pander to sympathetic saccharine stereotypes. There are no great epiphanies, nor Disney grabs for the nearest heartstrings. Their lives are messy, far from ideal and instantly relatable.
While it would be incredible to see gay actors telling this story it’s difficult to imagine a cooler chemistry than the prickly love conveyed by rubber-faced Coogan and the eternally sexy Rudd.
Full disclosure: Rudd has been my mental Pinterest pin-up since Clueless.
Coogan helped produce the film and chose the part of Erasmus, finding humour in the character’s selfishness and humanity.
The takeaways from Ideal Home, apart from Taco Bell, is that love is what makes a family… and everything looks better in the light of Santa Fe.