(James Burrows, USA, 1982)


The early '80s brought a spate of mainstream American movies taking on gay characters and themes, with wildly varying degrees of success – both comedies (such as Victor/Victoria, 1982) and dramas (like Making Love, 1982).

Nominally a comedy, Partners is guaranteed painful viewing no matter what your sexual preference.

James Burrows (a frequent Cheers director) made a poor transition to cinema with this tale of straight cop Ryan O'Neal paired with gay John Hurt and placed in a homosexual "world apart" to investigate a murder.

Presumably, some parody of William Friedkin's great and much-maligned Cruising (1980) is intended.

In this coy, pre-AIDS fantasy, all the gays are presented as predatory and promiscuous when they're not cute and maternal, and O'Neal is made to ride around in a pink car with a horn blaring "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

© Adrian Martin December 1982

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search