Imagine life as a gay man in West Hollywood; a place where all the 10s are looking for an 11 and where and on a good night you may rank as a 6 - and that's if the other guy's drunk enough! Such is the problem for Patrick, just one member of a group of gay men whose friendship holds them together through the ups and downs of being Out in the City, where Sex in the City is plentiful for the 11s and even for those who rank below, provided you have the body and attitude for such.
Take Cole for example; a budding pretty boy actor whose latest brief encounter was dropped with lines borrowed from an audition script and whose sex life lies at the opposite end of the relationship rainbow to that of Taylor; a man forever preaching the benefits of his long term relationship, until he finds himself sleeping single in a double bed. Oh and then there's Howie who thinks too much only to live too little, whilst Benji cannot even see past the love muscles of a manly him at his local gym!
No wonder then that aspiring photographer Dennis cannot decide whether his friends are the best or worst thing that happened to him, let alone whether he wants a relationship with the newbie to the group; Kevin by name and naïve by nature, given he isn't even sure if he's gay yet, despite a-liking for some man-on-man lip-service. Thankfully worldly wise Jack is on hand to provide the group with his unique words of wisdom and if you're lucky that all-important place on the Broken Hearts baseball team - surely the worst team in league history. Yet for Dennis, life has become more than just a series of one-night stands, as he starts to question his role in life and what it means to be a gay man in the world today!
Written and directed by Greg Berlanti of Dawson's Creek fame, this hugely entertainingly, yet thoughtful work is in many ways a modern outing of
The Boys in the Band scenario. Only gone is the self-hatred and despair of the Mart Crowley play, as thirty years on these boys are out and proud and if anything, loving every minute of it. Or are they, given here Berlanti goes out of his way to showcase one mans' quest to break free from the gay bars, gay clubs and gay gyms that have dominated his life and the lives of those around him.
Aided by a series of hilarious one-liners that give way to many a thought-provoking comment, let alone apt descriptions of the gay language itself, this delightful feature has a lot going for it, not least of which are the solid performances from Timothy Olyphant as Dennis, Dean Cain as Cole and notably a pre Scrubs Zach Braff as Benji. Yet whilst Billy Porter excels in the drama queen department, it is Andrew Keegan's tender portrayal of the straight-acting newbie to the group that hits home, competing as-it-does for the cinematic spotlight with the ever sharp work of veteran actor John Mahoney who as Jack shines in the role of a man with a big heart and big dresses to match! Fresh, upbeat and complete with some lush eye-candy, this is not so much a perceptive gay romantic comedy but rather given the context; a romantic comedy that just happens to be gay! Need more be said?
screened as part of the 44th Regus London Film Festival 2000
available on DVD as part of the Columbia TriStar catalogue
starring: Timothy Olyphant, Zach Braff, Dean Cain, Andrew Keegan, Nia Long, John Mahoney, Mary McCormack,
Matt McGrath, Billy Porter, Justin Theroux, Ben Weber, Michael Bergin, Jennifer Coolidge, Chris Wiehl, Robert Arce and Kerr Smith as The Catcher