The unnamed American suburb where “Love, Simon” takes place is as generic as “Call Me By Your Name’s” setting of Crema, Italy, is specific. Yet both places prove to be remarkably sunny locales for an earnest teenager to come out as gay.

The first major-studio romantic comedy with a teen protagonist who’s closeted, “Love, Simon” is basically a sitcom counterpart to last year’s Oscar-nominated “Call Me” — down to the culminating heart-to-heart with a spectacularly affirmative parent. Directed by Greg Berlanti (“Dawson’s Creek”) and scripted by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker (“This Is Us”), the movie is well-made and likable, without any major missteps. It’s also just a little bland.

“Love, Simon,” which does include more conflict than the Italy-set romance, isn’t exactly “Moonlight,” the similarly themed drama that won best picture last year. Simon (Nick Robinson) has doting, liberal-minded parents (Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel) and a supportive, racially integrated set of male and female friends. The boy’s upscale home and well-funded, clique-free high school harbor annoyances, but no actual threats.

Simon doesn’t fear coming out so much as he resents the need to do so, according to one funny sequence. But he is intrigued when a schoolmate declares himself gay in an anonymous online post. Simon begins to exchange emails with the other kid, known to him as “Blue,” under the pseudonym “Jacques.” While eagerly speculating on his correspondent’s identity, Simon falls for Blue.

Improbably, Simon leaves one of his unsent emails on a shared computer at school. It’s found by nerdy, needy Martin (Logan Miller), the movie’s closest thing to a villain. Even Martin isn’t really malicious. He is, like Simon, a slave to unrequited love — besotted with Simon’s pal Abby (Alexandra Shipp), star of the school’s awkward production of “Cabaret.”

Martin blackmails Simon into maneuvering Abby toward romance. To do …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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