Review: 'Bridesman' a Quirky Comedy Series from Grindr

by Roger Walker-Dack

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday April 13, 2022

'Bridesman'  (Source:Outfest)

Grindr, the world's biggest gay hookup app, has not always enjoyed a particularly good reputation. In 2017, when it was owned by the Chinese Gaming Company Kunlin, its president, Scott Chen, commented: "Some think marriage is between a man and a woman. I think so, too, but it's a personal matter." When the Grindr-owned INTO online LGBTQ Magazine repeated this, it was shut down completely after a mere 17 months.

The U.S. government forced Kunlin to sell up, saying that having the app owned by a Chinese company posed a national security risk. In March 2020 they sold its 98.59% stake in Grindr to U.S.-based (and very heterosexual) San Vicente Acquisition LLC for $608.5 million, which is no laughing matter. Nor was the $12 million fine the European Union's General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) levied on the app for violating its rules.

In need of both improving their reputation and image, and also trying to find ways to engage the apps users beyond the hookup facility, Grindr has just launched its own comedy web series. The episodes of "Bridesman" are 10 minutes long (they know how long most of their users can focus) and is due to be launched on Prime Video in September.

We caught a special preview at Outfest Film Fest in LA, where they screened all six episodes. "Bridesman" is the story of vain, self-centered Terry (well-played by the talented Jimmy Fowlie, who has carved out a niche as the actor to go-to for so many gay web series). He is an awful person who is reluctantly traveling to be the bridesman at the wedding of his childhood best friend, Judith (Sydnee Washington). En route, after boring the pants off an Uber driver (Calvin Seabrooks), he literally takes them off and they make out over the hood of the car.

The real reason Terry is going to the weekend is he believes that the bridegroom, Wyatt (David Mudge), fancies him. He means to try his luck before the nuptials the next day. But with everyone plotting against him (and vice versa), we know not only is that not going to happen, but there is also no chance that this is going to end well for anyone.

The series, written by John ONieal and directed by Julian Buchan Ulian, has a cast of oddball characters that suits this quirky queer comedy. The convoluted story starts off well, then it eventually turns into a something resembling the Titanic theme of the bachelor party — i.e., a bit of a disaster.

If the whole idea of "Bridesman" is to make us laugh, then it does succeed in part. The problem is that many will be laughing at it, rather than with it.

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.