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I Do focuses on the life of Jack, a British gay man living in New York, helping to raise his brother’s daughter with his sister-in-law after his brother died in a tragic accident. Jack’s work visa is rejected and he is advised that the only way to remain in the country is to get married. So of course he does what every gay would and marries his lesbian friend. But things gets complicated when he meets a man, the Spanish Mano, and falls in love, putting his friend in a difficult position.
At times it feels like I Do doesn’t quite know what it wants to focus on, moving between family drama to a strange sort of romantic comedy between the fake couple, before landing on a more traditional romance. When problems develop with Mano’s family and he has to move back to Spain, Jack has to choose whether to keep trying to live in the US or to give up his current life to attempt a new one with his lover.
The film raises some interesting issues about American immigration law, in particular the notion that someone who has made a life and created a family there can suddenly find their life pulled apart. The notion that this can all be fixed by a quick marriage is something the film basically skims over, choosing instead to focus on the conflict created in Jack’s life. However, his sister-in-law refuses to marry him, which would have fixed the issue quickly and allowed him to help her raise her daughter.
The film centres on Jack almost exclusively, but there are moments where David W. Ross doesn’t feel like he can carry the entire project. There are times when his emotions don’t seem genuine, particularly when he attempts to portray heartbreak. His character can also be a bit of a dick at times, in particular in the way he doesn’t consider his friend’s feelings when he asks her to marry him, and then ditches her for his new boyfriend, when he knows that she could go to jail if their relationship was discovered to be false.
Between the writing and Maurice Compte’s portrayal, Mano isn’t made into a very compelling character, which makes it hard to be too invested in their romance or really understand why Jack would throw away everything to pick him. The relationship with his niece starts off as a father figure that she can’t live without, but by the end of the film she doesn’t need him, despite nothing having changed in her life. Similarly her mother can’t seem to decide whether she wants Jack around or not. It’s obvious the film wants to make us believe Jack makes the right decision in the end, but forces itself to this position rather than working there gradually.
All in all I Do could benefit from a tighter focus and by letting the story grow organically as opposed to forcing it on the viewer. As it exists now it is a weird, quirky little drama.