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Film / Three to Tango

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Three to Tango is a 1999 American romantic comedy film starring Matthew Perry, Neve Campbell, Dylan McDermott and Oliver Platt.

Architects Oscar Novak (Perry) and Peter Steinberg (Platt) have just landed a career-making opportunity to design of a multimillion dollar cultural center for wealthy businessman Charles Newman (McDermott). When Newman meets Oscar and Peter, some of their antics make him assume that they are lovers, even though Oscar is straight. (Peter is in fact gay, but his relationship with Oscar is strictly platonic.) Under the mistaken impression that Oscar is gay, he asks Oscar to keep an eye on his mistress Amy (Campbell) and make sure that she doesn't talk to his wife. Oscar falls for Amy virtually on sight, but she thinks he's gay. He is forced to maintain the charade to avoid getting into trouble with Newman, and losing the commission. Matters become complicated when news about Oscar and Peter's supposed relationship becomes public.

This film features examples of:

  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Oscar has spent the entire film lying to Amy about his sexuality even after she told him that honesty was very important to her, so when he finally tells Amy he loves her at the awards ceremony, he admits that in doing so he's probably destroying any hope he had of being with her but believes everybody present deserves the same honesty they've given their families.
  • Coming Straight Story: Oscar is initially Mistaken for Gay, then keeps up the façade for a number of reasons until the film's climax, where the trope comes into play.
  • Destructive Romance: Oscar ultimately calls Amy out on how bad her relationship with Charles is, as she knows it can't have a future given his marriage. Amy's best defence is that they've never had a fight since they got together, but Oscar counters that this is just because Charles doesn't care enough about Amy to fight with her.
  • Gag Penis: Apparently, there's a huge reason why Kevin's nickname is "The Ponderosa."
  • Gay Best Friend: Amy has a gay friend, Kevin.
  • Heel Realization: Amy has a bit of this upon meeting Charles's wife and realizing that she's a perfectly decent woman.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: At the end of the film, Peter, the gay partner of straight-but-people-thought-he-was-gay Oscar, ends up trading innuendo with Kevin, the newbie-gay football player whose nickname is "The Ponderosa", after Oscar has finally gotten the girl.
  • I Have Just One Thing to Say: Oscar has spent the entire film pretending to be gay, while actually in love with Amy. When she finds out, she yells at him for daring to lie to her, and ends with "I have just one thing to say to you... I take the left side of the bed" (a call-back to a talk they had previously). Cue coy smirks and Ironic Echo inundation.
  • Macho Masochism: After Oscar has been Mistaken for Gay (it's actually his law partner who's gay, but a rambling public statement made by him was taken out of context), he wonders why even people who know him believe it. And then he looks around him and realizes he's cooking hors d'oeuvres for his friends and wearing goofy animal oven mitts. So to prove his manliness, he decides to pull the hors d'oeuvres out of the oven with his bare hands. He of course burns his hands and Screams Like a Little Girl. His friend then walks in on him practicing more manly-sounding cries of pain.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The plot of the film is that Oscar is mistaken for gay and has to keep up the charade because he was hired for the contract of his life on the assumption he was gay so he could act as a safe companion for his new boss's mistress Amy. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Rom Com Job: Oscar is of the Architect variety.
  • Straight Gay: At the end of the film, the pair of architects who were Oscar and Peter's rivals for the project are seen in bed together, the only indication we've gotten that they're gay.