The magic of stunt casting brings us Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd as a bickering gay couple – Alan Partridge and Ant-Man – in this mainstream comedy about daddy issues. To some extent Coogan is playing relatively true to type, as cringe-making Brit abroad Erasmus Brumble, whose Santa Fe-based gastronomic TV show displays his misguided self-importance to a flamboyant degree. There’s a hint of Partridge here, but rather a lot of queeny flounce that’s just about the right side of caricature. Thankfully, Rudd tones it down as his long-suffering partner. Their fractious, if loving, relationship comes under strain with the arrival of Coogan’s ten-year-old grandson Bill (Jack Gore), who’s been cast adrift when his dad is shipped off to jail.
Since the kid’s issues are partly down to Erasmus’s past doomed attempt at a heterosexual parenting relationship, we wonder whether he’ll do any better for his grandson within the context of settled gay coupledom. There’s an essential good-heartedness here, as the movie roots for gay dads everywhere, though the rest of it is a bit ramshackle. The young lad in the guest room seems more plot contrivance than real kid, for instance, and there’s only modest laughter from a script keen to find fun in stereotypes. That said, it never asks its protagonists to tone it down: they’re centre-stage in the sort of multiplex entertainment where so often the gay characters are peripheral comic relief. Funnier would have been better, but the warm inclusiveness makes its point.