Equal parts sweet and tart, director Andrew Fleming’s “Ideal Home” is the cinematic equivalent of Sour Patch Kids. The comedy is oh-so familiar and has the nutritional value of the sour sugar-coated, artificial dye-filled gummies, but it’s a delight while it lasts, thanks to Fleming’s bitingly funny script and the performances from Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd.
Like so many unexpecting adoptive parents of film and TV before them, quarreling couple Erasmus (Coogan) and Paul (Rudd) are unsure what to do with Erasmus’s grandson, Bill (Jack Gore), when he arrives at their doorstep, looking for a place to live after his father (Jake McDorman) has gone to jail. Erasmus and Paul find their life of dinner parties and cochinita pibil replaced by homework and Taco Bell, but they soon grow to appreciate Bill’s presence in their lives, their home and their relationship.
Fleming balances his script’s enjoyable mean streak with genuine tenderness, but “Ideal Home’s” success is a credit to both the writer-director and his leads. Coogan and Rudd display real chemistry, bouncing barbs off each other with an undercurrent of affection, and Gore is cute but never nauseatingly so.
Audiences have seen this story before in everything from “Three Men and a Baby” to “Big Daddy.” However, here the performances and the couple’s gay identity keep it fresh and add a sense of timeliness, and it never veers into preachy territory thanks to its gleefully dark sense of humor.
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena; and VOD