"People might get the wrong idea"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/09/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Paul (Peter Paige) is one of the innocent, self consciously nerdy people, who just don't want to listen. An artist and somewhat of a recluse, Paul is gay and well meaning, but he has a rather unhealthy attachment to the schoolyard and aggressive interest in other people's children. When his godson's family moves to Japan, Paul goes ballistic, bursting in on the distressed new owners of his godson's home and loitering in the local playground.
Paul isn't a pedophile, he just loves kids, but he doesn't really comprehend the ramifications of his actions. His best friend, Russell (Anthony Clark) - who at one stage tells Paul that he loves him - advises caution, because people will talk and he could get into deep trouble. After all, helping a little girl go potty in a toy store and brushing down children's bottoms whilst playing in the sandpit does come across as a bit creepy.
It doesn't take long for us to realize that Paul is playing with fire, the problem is while we are supposed to sympathize with him, in reality, he comes off as remarkably self-centered and juvenile and also frustrating. Following a brief period of denial, Paul soon trades gloominess and despair for fixation, and decides to work as a stock boy in a toy store and then offer his baby-sitting services as a "manny" who knows what children really want.
Leave it up to concerned local mother Maggie (Kathy Najimy) to lead the moral majority and decide - for no good reason - that Paul fits the classic profile of a child predator. Together with some of the other mothers she begins a type neighborhood watch in the form of a witch-hunt to "bring Paul in" before he actually commits any crime.
Because Paul is gay and kindly and sort of innocent, we are supposed to see him as the victim, and to a certain extent he is. Still, if you were a parent wouldn't you be concerned if an unknown single man approached kids in the park and started playing in the sandbox with them? If so, you may not find Paul, and his deranged Peter Pan complex, and his anger at the big, bad world of grown-up people quite as charming as Paige does.
Besides the obvious reticence to actually empathize with Paul, Say Uncle does do a good job of presenting a hot-button issue where mothers of young kids can often rush to judgment, becoming hysterical over this issue for no good reason.
Peter Paige wrote, directed and cast himself in the lead and while the film presents the results of two people's misconceptions about each other quite well, the results are still often wobbly, somewhat misconstrued and wildly out of balance. The moral subtleness of Paul and Maggie's dilemma just doesn't come across as well as it could and rather than trying to deal with gay persecution and social mistrust, Say Uncle mostly comes off as a wishy-washy study of one man's wildly inappropriate behavior. Mike Leonard October 06.
Pretty decent for what it was.
Andrew V. Oconke | Cleveland, Ohio | 09/08/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I usually LOVE tla releasing films... i enjoyed "say uncle" but wouldn't recommend it beyond a rental.
It's basically about a guy who acts like a child and gets accused of being a sexual predator.
The production values are pretty low.
The best part was Kathy Najimy reading the wrong words to her speech and correcting herself.
I say "RENT IT"... it really is pretty good, but not worth a purchase."
Wrong Messages from Both Sides
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/14/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Another of those 'written, directed, starring' movies that should have been filtered through a careful producing team, SAY UNCLE will probably get an audience because of Peter Paige's fans from QUEER AS FOLK (it looks like the entire cast and team put up the money for the production!). The theme of the story is an important one - single gay men who love children are targets for homophobic people to label as sexual predators - but the film fails to engage us on both sides of the fence.
Paul Johnson (Peter Paige) is bonded to his godson and in every way seems the perfect godfather - if a bit too much on the infantile side of maturity. His world collapses when his friends move with his godson to Japan and Paul realizes he has nothing. He loses his job, grazes on donuts, and finally begins to seek employment in kids' stores, baby-sitting, and other kid related projects (even trying to adopt a child while jobless), all the while playing with kids in the park. The mothers in the park all love the fact that he appears to be a stay-at-home dad who entertains their own children, until one mother (Kathy Najimy) becomes suspect that he is a pedophile and organizes the city against him. The ending is predictable and phony and doesn't say much that is good about either Paul's manner of adapting to his life needs nor the mothers' taking responsibility for their misjudging: it just ends.
Paige is a talented guy but he needs a good director to give him some insights on how to step out of clichés and stereotypes and become at least a facsimile of a real human being. Oddly enough we are left with a feeling that his 'Paul' is a man who behaves like a child and will probably never cross the line into adulthood. The supporting cast is satisfactory but the production values are weak. The redeeming factor is the sense that everyone had a good idea to explore: the journey just doesn't compel us. Grady Harp, September 06"
Good story concept, deserved more work than it got.
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 09/20/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In the indie film "Say Uncle" (2005), Paul Johnson (Peter Paige) is a very sweet but extremely naive gay artist, working an awful telemarketing job to pay the bills. A loner with few friends, he lives for the time he spends playing with his little godson, the child of his best friends. When a job causes that family to relocate to Japan, Paul tries to replace the joy he felt playing with the child by spending time with children in a local park. All goes fine until one of the mothers, played by Kathy Majimy, decides that a gay man who hangs out with children must be a pedophile, and organizes the neighborhood - embellishing the truth for what she considers the safety of innocent children - to bring him to justice.
Besides his starring role, Paige (who was Emmett in "Queer As Folk") is the screenwriter and director of this film. The cast includes a lot of great actors, including Majimy, Gabriel Union, Melanie Lynskey, and comic Anthony Clark as Paul's co-worker and best gay friend. In my opinion, the basic concept was good and the story had a lot of potential in more experienced hands, but came off largely unrealistic and somewhat preachy. The production could have also been better served by a more knowledgeable director. Paige's acting is very good, but the character as writeen comes off as borderline psychotic and barely sympathetic, with his propensity toward denial and inability to comprehend possible implications of his own actions. The latter is explained too briefly in one short sequence at the end about his childhood, and should have more thorough.
Overall, I give the film three stars out of five. DVD has brief "making of" featurette, storyboards and trailer.