If you liked Looking the TV series, you’ll be largely satisfied by the wrap-up movie — which was previewed at Outfest 2016 ahead of its HBO premiere. If you didn’t like Looking the TV series, the wrap-up movie won’t change your mind about the series.
And it’s not because the movie isn’t any good. It just did what it was supposed to do – provide closure to fans who were disappointed by the HBO show’s unfortunate cancellation last year after two seasons.
Looking: The Movie takes place about a year after the series finale. Patrick (Jonathan Groff) has since relocated to Denver after his breakup with Kevin (Russell Tovey), Dom’s (Murray Bartlett) restaurant is a success and Augustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) is getting married to his boyfriend Eddie (Daniel Franzese).
For the movie, Patrick returns to San Francisco for the wedding a somewhat changed man (at least in terms of his mindset about sex). But he’s fearful of the unfinished business he’s returning to – particularly as it relates to Kevin. And while he appears glad to be out of San Francisco, he finds himself drawn back into his former life.
But despite all the changes in Patrick’s life that were established in the first half hour of the film, the rest of the film seemed hell bent on trying to revert. A meetup with Kevin leads to a new career opportunity back in San Francisco, cracks in ex-boyfriend Richie (Raul Castillo) and Brady’s (Chris Perfetti) relationship portend a possible reunion and everything that annoyed Patrick about San Francisco which led him to leave in the first place became everything he missed about it in the second place.
Interestingly, the film flirted with a relationship between Patrick and Dom — whose mere presence (and that of Bartlett’s) is impetus enough for anyone to want to stay anywhere they may be. But Dom had his own romantic interest in the studly form of Jake, Eddie’s best friend from out of town (Derek Phillips of Friday Night Lights fame). So while Dom was reluctant to even give the interested Jake a shot – presumably due to the spector of Lynn (who does not appear in the film), he and Jake do have their moment.
That moment takes place during a tracking shot at a bar where we also see Augustin with Eddie and Doris (Lauren Weedman) with her boyfriend Malik (Bashir Salahuddin). At the end of the shot, Patrick is standing by himself – which would suggest that Patrick will wind up by himself and not necessarily find whatever it is he has been LOOKING for all this time.
To that end, one of the highlights of the film was a brutally honest conversation between Patrick and Kevin about their relationship in which Patrick realizes his part in sabotaging it. Behind that, I would have actually preferred the film to end with Patrick alone to grow in his sexual liberation and mend his self-sabotaging ways.
What I always liked about Looking was that it was a stylized show in approach and tone that followed its own rules. It wasn’t afraid to have annoying or even unlikeable characters that were still figuring out their lot in life despite their ages. It wasn’t afraid of long dialogue scenes. And it wasn’t afraid to not have things entirely work out for their characters.
But the film backed away from that in pointing us toward a happily ever after in love for Patrick (despite himself) and life now working out for everyone else (although more rightfully so). At the same time, if you’re looking to satisfy your fans, this is probably the way most of them would have wanted to close out the series.
This fan, however, would have preferred the creative choice not taken.
All pictures reproduced courtesy of HBO