a film by Ian Poitier
2007 | 105 mins | UK
›› Oh Happy Day
a fun and frothy work on life and love.
Oh Happy Day by Ian Poitier Some films deserve to be more widely known and this is yet another example of a well-executed piece that for the main part, has largely gone unnoticed and that's a shame, as it's a thoroughly enjoyable affair.

It tells the story of Jonathan Low; an ambitious marketing man eager to land the advertising world's top dog award, only for love to arrive on his doorstep instead, courtesy of native New Yorker David. On secondment in London and loving every minute of it, the two hit it off immediately, only for Jonathan's hopes of having found the one to fade in the morning after the night before, when David turns out to be his new client. With the company policy of "not mixing business with pleasure" seemingly set in stone, the two are forced to work together on a purely professional basis, much to David's regret and Jonathan's increasing discomfort. Yet with personal emotions spilling over into their working relationship, just how long can Jonathan keep his job, let alone his true feelings for David to himself?

Oh Happy Day by Ian Poitier Written and directed by former public relations man Ian (relative of Sidney) Poitier, this sparkling romantic comedy cannot help but charm, filled as it is with a series of guaranteed to please moments, including a boys in love montage set to the long overdue rainbow inclusion of Queen's deliciously camp Seaside Rendezvous. Yet in a mix that soundtrack wise ranges from gospel to the Judy Garland classic Get Happy, it is the performances that count and here Christopher Colquhoun and Stephen Billington as the loving pair do not disappoint, aided by splendid support from Pooky Quesnel as worldly wise colleague Fern, Chris Polick as still besotted ex lover / co-worker Neil and Julie Saunders as Jonathan's salsa dancing best friend and more Jasmine. Yet it is Tyler Smart who as, well that would be saying, delivers some of the films' best Poppy styled one liners, in a work that includes a neat twist on the perennial coming out scenario.

True, this emotional rollercoaster ride on the ups and downs of a troubled relationship does at times take on a preachy feel, complete as it is with a poignant "life is fragile" scene. As too, many of the twists and turns of the plot are somewhat predictable, hampered by a set of blurred photo transition effects that soon become tiresome. But that said, this is a fun and frothy work on life and love, aided by some quite tender man-on-man lip-service, scenics that range from the iconic London Bridge to the lush greenery of the Sussex countryside, to an interracial aspect that's beautifully played. And for a debut feature, Poitier has delivered a remarkably entertaining and professional work, charting as it does on screen, relationship issues that are all but too real when fate brings two people of different ethnic origins, outlooks, let alone countries together. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 
available on DVD as part of the Ariztical Entertainment catalogue 05.Aug.2008
screened as part of the 22nd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2008
starring: Christopher Colquhoun / Jonathan, Stephen Billington / David, Julie Saunders / Jasmine, Pooky
Quesnel / Fern, Chris Polick / Neil, Gerald Lepkowski / Rob, Hazel Palmer / Miss Eartha, Blanche
Williams / Rose, Tyler Smart / Poppy, Topher Campbell / Randy and Paul Jerrico as Rex.
official website: www.oh-happy-day.co.uk
›› many thanks to Phil for this reader review request; keep them coming ‹‹
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
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