It’s safe to say we’ve never seen a coming-out story quite like <i>Could Be Worse!</i> Casting his Greek American family as themselves (despite their having negligible experience or talent), Zack Stratis serves up an exuberant cocktail of musical comedy, documentary, and family therapy in a film destined to make audiences cheer (or cringe!). Incredibly endearing and irrepressibly audacious, <i>Could Be Worse!</i> is a lavish display of invention, warmth, and wondrously scrappy self-indulgence.
It’s Sunday night at the Stratises, where plans are afoot for Ollie and Gus’s fiftieth wedding anniversary party. When Zack leaks his intention to incorporate a lavish coming-out spectacle, jaws drop, the pot roast plops, and all hell breaks loose. A Greek American Archie Bunker, Gus belts out the first of what becomes a series of outrageously expressive musical numbers, “I’m Your Father, Listen to Me.” Zack’s hypochondriac artist sister, Evmorphia, follows with the vampy confessional, “I Gotta Tell Ya.” Not to be outdone, punk-rocker-turned-yuppie Tedi breaks into the scalding “Leave Me Alone,” while brother Stathi, a fervent traditionalist, steps up the drama with his tragic “Tears and Pain.” Pressured to paint her phyllo triangles pink for pride, Zack’s mother rebounds with her own solo, “You Think It’s Hard Being Gay, Try Growin’ Up a Woman.” From the guileless shuffling of improvisation, scripted sequences, and documentary inserts rise moments of tremendous sincerity and sensitivity. In an extravagant family-style finale, <i>Could Be Worse!</i> brings everybody together with American, Greek, and rainbow flags hoisted amiably on high.
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