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Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from HBO Home Entertainment comes not only a spectacular series but the follow up film as well with LOOKING.

In the bustling town of San Francisco, Patrick Murray (Jonathan Groff) is a young man from Denver looking to make his way in video game design. Helping to find his way are best friends Agustin (Frankie Alvarez) and Dom (Murray Bartlett). In their group also is Doris (Lauren Weedman), Dom’s bestie and the two grew up together in Modesto.

After watching his ex get married, Patrick meets Richie (Raul Castillo) and is immediately drawn in. Unfortunately he was given some awkward direction by his friends that turned their date into chaos. At work during a video launch party Patrick meets Kevin (Russell Tovey), a handsome young man with an alluring British accent.

Dom tells Doris that his big dream is to open his own chicken restaurant. He doesn’t want to work under anyone and has his own ideas. Meeting Lynn (Scott Bakula), he and Dom go in together on a pop up to find investors. Patrick decides he wants to see Richie again and they begin seeing each other.

But, one afternoon Patrick and Kevin have a chance to get to know more about one another and it’s obvious there is a chemistry between them. Ignoring the day, Patrick invites Richie to his sisters wedding and actually becomes a little unglued believing his mother will ruin the day.

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Agustin is having his own difficulties as an artist but they are creeping into his personal life as well. When things begin to fall apart right and left, Agustin makes the decision to get away from art and find something else for his life.

Dom and Lynn start to feel tension at the pop up but Dom thinks it’s because there might be feelings between the two. Imagine the shock when Lynn brings a guest to their opening night and it confuses him.

With all the drama, Dom invites Patrick, Agustin and Doris to the Russian River where Lynn owns a cabin. With things not working out with Richie, Patrick calls Kevin to meet him for time together at the cabin. After a night of crazy fun, they all return back to their lives.

Dom and Lynn agree to work on their relationship and Patrick is giving in to having a secret relationship with Kevin even though he is still with his partner John. The tension makes Patrick crazy because he is not sure where this all will lead – if anywhere.

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Agustin goes on a drunk/drug fueled night and Richie finds him on a doorstep. Returning him home, Patrick and Richie try to talk about what has happened. Agustin meets Eddie (Daniel Franzese) who works at a shelter for kids and suggests that he do something for someone other than himself. Taking Eddie’s advice he applies for a job working with kids and gets it!

Tired of being secret lovers, Patrick decides it is time to end things with Kevin. Wanting to talk about it he turns to Richie feeling that maybe they could talk things over even more. When Eddie doesn’t show up for work, Agustin bangs on his door with an offering of food only to find out he’s just taking the day off and the two get together.

Doris’ father passes away and she is not about to return home without Dom. The two have memories of people and places and with their strong bond they get through the grieving together. Their mistake might have been taking Patrick who takes the opportunity to grieve loudly. When Doris finds out that her father left money, she offers it to Dom to help open his chicken restaurant.

Returning home Patrick once again takes up with Kevin and the next time he sees Richie learns that he is with a new partner named Brady (Chris Perfetti). Both Patrick and Richie try to be happy for the other but its clear there is hurt feelings still. The bigger shock for them all is that Agustin is in a serious relationship with Eddie and although still a handful, is actually happy.

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When Kevin leaves Jon (Joseph Williamson) and moves into a new apartment, Patrick couldn’t be happier. That is short lived when he discovers Kevin has a Grindr account on his phone. Trying to talk with Patrick about an open relationship – it is one relationship step to far. Once again Patrick goes to Richie but this time only for a haircut.

LOOKING: The Movie returns to San Francisco one year later as Patrick fly’s in from Denver to attend with wedding of Agustin and Eddie. Excited to see Dom and Doris and catch up on their lives they all immediately party it up. At the celebration Patrick sees Richie and Brady who are still together.

It is Agustin who tells Patrick that he needs to get closure on relationships that didn’t end well or else he won’t be able to move on. Taking that advice, Patrick calls Kevin and they meet on the street one final time. Kevin makes it clear that he returned to John and that he still loves Patrick. Knowing that isn’t enough, Kevin offers him a good job without strings attached if Patrick wants to return to San Francisco.

The wedding is as chaotic as Agustin and Eddie’s relationship but it is also filled with love and hope for all of their futures. At the reception party, Richie’s partner Brady just can’t seem to lay off of Patrick as a verbal game begins. Pulling them apart, Richie leaves making it clear this is not what he wants.

Life, friendship, loyalty, laughter and love is what their lives are about!

Groff as Patrick is absolutely adorable and so naïve about so many things. That’s what makes this series even more endearing because the viewers have the opportunity to watch him grow. Learning from his mistakes is difficult this character and Groff portrays Patrick in such a way that I’m sure everyone wants to protect him. I know I absolutely wanted too! Watching the relationships between Richie and Kevin, it was easy to see how this character wanted the best of both and trips over his own emotional uncertainty to screw it up.

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Alvarez as Agustin is a total crack up. Yes, he is self absorbed, indifferent, narcissistic, emotionally unavailable long term and a hot mess when he listens to other hot messes. As much as Agustin thinks he is different, I think the fact that he is more like his friends is what kills him. As if being like them means he isn’t quite special enough, which is hardly the case. Franzese as Eddie is sweet and caring which is something Agustin isn’t use to!

Bartlett as Dom knows what he wants but confuses it with the work it takes to get it. When he focuses on one thing this character shuts everything else out and forgets that not everyone understands him the way Doris does. Speaking of Doris, Weedman is just brilliant and hilarious – and reminds me of me!

Castillo as Richie comes from a prideful family and is mostly his downfall. He can shut down at a moment’s notice which freaks Patrick out as he’s use to dealing with his family that is verbally open whether he likes it or not. When it comes down to it, Richie is as unsure as Patrick is about, well, everything.

Tovey as Kevin is smart, cute, clever and Patrick’s boss! All of that is a deadly combination that Patrick can’t seem to resist. I knew from the get go that Kevin was wishy-washy with relationships and it was based on fear. Bakula as Lynn is an older man who wants to be of help to Dom. Dealing with Dom’s emotional outbursts and attitudes turn out to be something Lynn doesn’t need. At this stage in his life he is looking for calm, good friends and no drama.

Other cast include O.T. Fagbenie as Frank, Andrew Law as Owen, Ptolemy Slocum as Hugo and Bashir Salahuddin as Malik.

HBO Home Entertainment has an extensive array of critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programs found on Bluray, DVD and Digital HD. They have provided viewers with some of the most amazing programs with huge fan bases that include the shows True Blood, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, True Detectives, The Wire, Entourage and Game of Thrones. Launched in 1984, HBO is world wide in viewed entertainment in more than 70 territories around the world! For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give LOOKING: The Complete Series and Movie four tubs of popcorn out of five. These characters are complex, silly, deep, funny, confused, complicated and every other human emotion that can be portrayed on film. The fast introduction of the characters makes way for the story to unfold at a pace I enjoyed.

I have to say the most enjoyable part of the series is that every character and I mean every character could easily be based on a friend of mine. That’s what brought me quickly into the series and thrilled to have the film included so I could watch everyone’s ending.

Every part of this series is so amazingly well done and it is a shame that HBO didn’t let the series go on a little longer. That’s just the part of me that wanted more but at the same time I loved the way it was wrapped up – damn that double edged series loving sword! Once again HBO brings a series that is memorable and worthy of seeing over and over.

The four-disc DVD set includes every episode from seasons One and Two along with LOOKING: The Movie. Also included is 16 audio commentaries as well as the Digital HD code.

In the end – the complexities of life and love is easier with your friends!

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