Max Landis’ buildup to his directorial debut, Me Him Her, has been a long time coming, particularly with the box office cachet of his major screenwriting efforts, Chronicle and American Ultra. The seeming genius of his successful pitches and infinite script ideas have shown a wide range in his genre abilities over the course of his relatively brief career (he’s still a mere thirty years old–a zygote in men of Hollywood standards). Me Him Her is of particular note considering how different of a story it is from his previous work.
A sexuality-bending romance, the narrative takes on L.A. as one of its main characters as TV actor Brendan Ehrlick (Luke Bracey) calls upon his longtime friend Corey (Dustin Milligan) to come visit him from Florida as he comes to terms with the fact that he’s gay. When Corey comments over the phone, “I know you’re gay,” Brendan defensively asks, “How long have you known I’m gay? Why didn’t you tell me?” Corey then establishes a running joke of the film by firing back, “Why didn’t I tell you your sexual orientation?” And so, with that, Corey arrives in L.A., a city that, as Brendan warns, blurs “the line between dreams and reality.”
As the dynamic between Corey and Brendan makes itself more evident, Brendan’s reasoning in calling upon Corey becomes clear: he is the type of person who will “blow stuff up”–which is why he gets Brendan to a gay bar called Mr. Right to meet up with Griffin (Jake McDorman), one of the crew members on his show, Hard Justice (an unfortunate name indeed for Brendan’s need to come out). It is because of Griffin unexpectedly kissing Brendan inside of the prop truck a week ago that Brendan had the revelation about his sexuality. Thus, Corey sees no reason why Brendan shouldn’t capitalize on the feelings he has for Griffin.
Mr. Right, however, is apparently that unicorn of a bar that caters to both gay men and women, which is why recently heartbroken Gabbi (Emily Meade) is there as well, nursing the wounds of discovering that her girlfriend of two years has been cheating on her the entire time. Her surly demeanor gets all the other lesbians talking about how she’s a certain model named Heather’s (Angela Sarafyan) personal plaything and how “some people just love to be treated like shit.” It is this barrage of not so under breath comments that prompt Gabbi to sit down next to Corey while Brendan attempts to go to the bathroom (a cartoonishly horroresque scene that brilliantly speaks to the seedy underbelly of every gay club once you try to use the loo for standard purposes).
As Gabbi and Corey strike up a conversation, it’s clear that their connection is more than platonic, though Gabbi has never before had sex with (or sexual interest in) a man. Yet something about how opposite Corey is to Heather lures her in–it is almost as though he is more of a lesbian woman than Heather is (that kindness, those big blue eyes and that floppy hair that falls over his face). And this is precisely what Gabbi needs: someone who will treat her well. However, the next morning when she wakes up in her car with Corey next to her, everything is more confusing than ever to Gabbi. Brendan’s night didn’t serve much use in clearing up confusion either, as he was spotted outside the club by paparazzi, which leads to a severe chat from his management team that insists coming out would be a detriment to his career.
With Brendan feeling abandoned by Corey in his time of need, Corey briefly makes up for it by accompanying him to a lunch with his parents, Mr. Ehrlick (Scott Bakula) and Mrs. Ehrlick (Geena Davis, who feels ripe for a comeback). That is, until, in the midst of Corey setting it up for Brendan to confess his “secret” to them, he sees Gabbi across the street and chases after her to get an explanation for why she left him in the middle of nowhere. When he finally catches up with her in front of a giant Beverly Hills sign (and later asks “Where am I?”), she gets angry with him for 1) appearing on TV at a gay pride parade (only to deflect attention from Brendan as he tried, once again, to meet Griffin) and 2) “taking advantage” of her in her vulnerable state. Nonetheless, Corey gets her to put his number in her phone.
Since Heather kicked her out of her own apartment, Gabbi has turned to her friend, Laura (Alia Shawkat), and her girlfriend for a place to crash. It is there that she has a nightmare/catharsis about her relationship with Heather as she beckons to her evilly from the sea as a mermaid and an unexpected giant penis comes to interrupt her reverie. A similar dream, too, comes to Brendan as he continues to grapple with being open about his true identity.
Landis’ smart dialogue and near Garden State-like conclusion makes Me Him Her a unique addition to an ever-shifting genre: the modern rom-com that actually caters to “divergent” sexualities (a.k.a. non-heteronormative, a concept du jour in the film industry).