American quiche

Posted on 31 Aug 2006 at 6:10pm
By Steve Warren Contributing Film Critic

Silly, raunchy and flamboyant “‘Another Gay Movie’ scores as teen sex-flick



SHAMELESS PLUG: Andy (Michael Carbonaro) ponders the magnificence of his imposing new “friend.”


B-

Director: Todd Stephens
Cast: Michael Carbonaro, Jonathan Chase, Jonah Blechman, Mitch Morris, Lypsinka, Richard Hatch, Scott Thompson and Graham Norton
Opens Sept. 1 exclusively at Landmark’s Magnolia
1 hr., 32 min.
No one under 18 admitted.

Since it’s not a benefit associated with marriage, queers have the right to sex comedies that are as filthy and raunchy as straight sex-comedies and show more full frontal.

“Another Gay Movie” is not just another gay movie it’s possibly the most sex-obsessed. And the cast is practically a catalogue of out D-list celebrities. The production features the brightest colors since “The Wizard of Oz,” and the films it references will fill your Netflix queue to bursting.

At times, it’s very funny and very romantic. And very silly nearly all the time too silly for my taste, but some will find that part of its charm.

Writer-director Todd Stephens (“Edge of Seventeen,” “Gypsy 83″) has set out to make a queer version of “American Pie,” with four gay friends making a pact to lose their butt-cherries during the summer following high school graduation.

In this day and age, their naivet? would be more suited to 12-year-olds than informed youths of 17 or 18. They have no question about their orientation: The flamingest one of all pretends to keep a foot in the bi camp, but he’s more camp than bi. He has a blind girlfriend (she should be deaf too). They’re not dogs, although one or two might be considered a specialized taste, so keeping their virginity should be more difficult than losing it.

With men throwing themselves at them all summer, Stephens has to work overtime in finding ways to keep the boys intact until Labor Day. Some of the things he pulls out of his ass to keep from putting anything in theirs are quite creative, but most are just absurd.

Michael Carbonaro stars as Andy Wilson, the equivalent of the Jason Biggs character, right down to pastry-penetrating and the embarrassment of being caught on a Webcam. He’s got a crush on his teacher, Mr. Puckov (Graham Norton with a Eurotrash accent and a home S&M playroom).

Jonah Blechman (Leonardo DiCaprio’s gay friend in “This Boy’s Life”) plays the flamboyant Nico, whose adventures include bringing “Survivor’s” Richard Hatch (pre-prison) home from a book signing and meeting “adult industry performer” Matthew Rush online.

When Griff (Mitch Morris) wears his heart on his sleeve, it’s not a fashion statement. Although he flirts with personal trainer/exotic dancer Angel (Darryl Stephens of “Noah’s Arc”), it’s too obvious too soon that his heart belongs to the last of the quartet, Jarod (Jonathan Chase) the jock.

Jarod has a couple of guys hot to trot Beau (James Getzlaff of “Boy Meets Boy”) and Tyler (Andersen Gabrych of “Edge of Seventeen”) but they never quite get around to trotting.

The guys’ best lesbian friend is the boisterous Muffler (Ashlie Atkinson, a young Lea DeLaria), who has no trouble scoring with chicks and throws the graduation and Labor Day parties that bookend the movie. She’s the counterpart of Stifler, right down to having a horny older relative available for deflowering male virgins.

Adding to the camp quotient are Andy’s parents: Scott Thompson plays his too understanding father and Lypsinka his mother, who is too busy channeling Joan Crawford to even visit the universe everyone else inhabits. Comedy gadfly Ant and Robert Laughlin show up as paramedics.

A terrific soundtrack includes a new song, “Another Gay Sunshine Day,” co-written by filmmaker Stephens and sung by Nancy Sinatra, that sounds like a weak outtake from her “Sugar Town” sessions.

I much preferred the flat-out romanticism of “Edge of Seventeen,” based on Stephens’ own coming out. And for dirty talk, “Clerks II” has far more wit. It’s not as gay, but considering that the main characters are all heterosexual, it comes pretty close.

Perhaps the title means to acknowledge the fact that we’ve come too far to embrace another movie just because it’s gay. “Another Gay Movie” is well produced and certainly no rip-off for those who find its flamboyant style appealing.



THE WEDDING CRASHER

Ed Burns has never seemed like the most gay-friendly of filmmakers. It’s not that he’s homophobic, but the working class Irish-American goobahs that populate films like “The Brothers McMullen” and “She’s the One” simply don’t ooze sexual tolerance as a virtue.

So when one character in his latest, “The Groomsmen,” comes out of the closet, it’s no surprise the dialogue isn’t exactly Oprah-couch sensitive. It is, however, emotionally honest just like the rest of the film.

In the movie, Paulie (Burns), one of the 30-something guys from the neighborhood (in this case, Long Island), has decided to marry his pregnant girlfriend (Brittany Murphy). He invites his life-long friends to be groomsmen, including T.C. (John Leguizamo), who skipped town eight years ago without so much as a good-bye and hasn’t been seen since.

The departure left a bad taste in the mouth of Mike (Jay Mohr), who never forgave T.C. for stealing his Tom Seaver rookie baseball card. The reason T.C. left was because he was afraid to come out of the closet to his friends.

How each of them react to this news forms a central thread of the storyline, although there’s very little plot to speak of. It meanders for much of its running time, but it’s not right to call it aimless at least, no more so than the men it portrays. Burns has constructed a series of character studies that explore male-bonding, growing older and the dynamics of communication between men, whether gay or straight.

The performances are consistently good, with Mohr surprisingly effective and funny as a dopey loser and Leguizamo accurately capturing the stress of coming out. Their chemistry in particular elevates “The Groomsmen” beyond what could have been a sappy melodrama to something much better.

Grade: B

Arnold Wayne Jones

Now playing at the Dallas Angelika Film Center.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, August 25, 2006.

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