Gray Matters (2007) (PG-13) ★½

Review Date: February 23rd, 2007

Heather Graham's nonstop perky chattering is more annoying than cute in Gray Matters, an uneven, unrealistic romantic comedy about a rather bizarre love triangle.


When people first meet Gray (Heather Graham) and Sam (Tom Cavanagh), they often assume the deeply connected pair are a couple--after all, they live together, spend all their free time together, and even finish each other's sentences. But they're not so much boyfriend and girlfriend as they are brother and sister, and it's high time they broadened their horizons. Enter Charlie (Bridget Moynahan), a bright, beautiful zoologist who sweeps Sam off his feet with her first smile. A whirlwind romance leads to matrimony--and a startling realization for Gray, who discovers that she might feel more than sisterly affection for her brother's wife. From there, the movie follows Gray's journey toward self-acceptance and fulfillment ... in between scenes where she talks the ear off of anyone who will listen, including smitten cabbie Gordy (Alan Cumming).


Gray Matters doesn't really seem like a stretch for any of its stars. Graham has already done the wide-eyed, neurotic single-girl shtick plenty of times, and--even with its ''am I gay?'' storyline--the movie doesn't offer anything new on that front. Plus, Gray is so busy yammering on and on about nothing that Graham doesn't have time to do much more than make big gestures and mug for the camera. Cavanagh's brand of goofy charm has been more or less the same Ed, Moynahan's only requirement is to walk around in skimpy lingerie and be irresistible, and Molly Shannon is gratingly broad as Gray's friend/co-worker Carrie. Cumming's Gordy is one of the film's few bright spots; the usually fey Scotsman plays it sweetly (and rather ironically) straight as a new friend who helps Gray cope with the emotional maelstrom she finds herself at the center of.


Gray Matters is writer/director Sue Kramer's first feature film, so perhaps she deserves a little leniency. Then again... The movie is plagued by unoriginality, from Gray's generic ad agency job to Charlie's drunken Vegas performance of ''I Will Survive'' to Carrie's rants about body image and Oprah--all are familiar from myriad Hollywood romantic comedies that have come before. The coming-out storyline does set Gray Matters apart, but that doesn't kick in until at least halfway through the movie (which, at just over 90 minutes, still feels long and clunky thanks to the poor pacing). So, by the time Gray is really ready for some self-examination--no thanks to her weird therapist, Sydney (Sissy Spacek, who must have owed someone a favor)--the audience is already thoroughly tired of her monumental insecurity, no matter how valid it is that she feels that way. Ultimately, Gray just doesn't matter.

Bottom Line rated this film 1 1/2 stars.