Fans of “Looking” will get an overdue valentine this weekend, when the gay-themed HBO series concludes with a much-anticipated television film.
The movie, which airs on HBO this Saturday, picks up a year after the series left off. Romantically challenged techie Patrick (Jonathan Groff) returns to San Francisco after fleeing the city a year earlier when his relationship with boss Kevin (Russell Tovey) went south. Back on the West coast, Patrick finds that the lives of his best pals have evolved in surprising ways. Tortured artist Agustín (Alvarez) is gainfully employed and crazy in love with adorable bear Eddie (Daniel Franzese). Meanwhile, Dom (Bartlett) has fulfilled his long-held dream of opening a restaurant, but his love life is at a standstill. Then, of course, there’s Richie (Raúl Castillo), the salt-of-the-earth, Mexican-born barber for whom Patrick may or may not still harbor unresolved feelings.
As those plot points suggest, “Looking: The Movie” perfectly maintains the graceful, slice-of-life tone that polarized TV viewers, some of whom were expecting a gay take on “Girls” or “Sex and the City,” during the series’ brief run. Those who didn’t embrace the show’s emphasis on individual relationships over large-scale melodrama may still not be won over, but for Bartlett, the movie’s 90-minute running time takes “the strengths of the show and really showcases them.”