a film by Spencer Schilly
2007 | 85 mins | US
›› The Houseboy
a 'sex and drugs' depiction of life at the end of lonely street.
The Houseboy by Spencer Schilly From the low-budget school of filmmaking comes this raw depiction of life at the end of lonely street.

For Simon and DJ are long-term lovers, happy in their relationship just so long as a cute twenty-something rests between them. Only when houseboy Ricky overhears DJ demanding a new boy toy for Christmas, he reckons his days are numbered. Already down on account of the homophobic stance of his family, Ricky contemplates ending his life by way of a drug overdose on Christmas Eve, namely the time of year in which the suicide rate is at its apex.

Between then and now however and with those he thought loved him off to visit their folks, festive fashion, Ricky takes time out to get high on sex and drugs, hooking up with an array of men who lust after his body, only to promptly head for the door when he announces his intent to commit suicide. That is, apart from a chance encounter with local boy Blake, a young man whose smile and upbeat approach to life may just be enough to make Ricky realise that life is worth living after all.

The Houseboy by Spencer Schilly When makes a good film great is to deliver on its premise and sadly what premise there was here struggles to break free, undermined by way of a series of uneven production values, dire acting from some and a script that seems preoccupied with endless scenes of lead actor Nick May in a state of undress. And yet into such an ill mix, Schilly has added some quite tender touches, with Ricky's slide down the spiral of mental depression nicely played against his meeting with Blake / Blake Young-Fountain, whose sexual openness with his parents, an off-camera lesbian couple, contrasts sharply with Ricky's own relationship with a mother forever unable to accept the fact that her son is gay.

That Tom Merlino as Simon and Brian Patacca as DJ do little but set the films goalposts, thereby allowing an assortment of characters to walk between them, goes without saying. Thankfully Schilly uses the opportunity to inject some much needed joviality into the proceedings, courtesy of the comic timing of Murray Hill as Mister Santa and The World Famous *BoB* as Kitty Clause. Yet of all of the characters to be had, perhaps the most poignant turn lies with Peter Bloch and his depiction of a lonely middle aged HIV positive man more interested in friendship, than sex and in whom Ricky sees an unwelcome reflection of what could be.

It is a reflection that sees the script play with its will he or won't he kill himself scenario, right up to the final scene. Then again, talk of suicide is but a plea for attention, with Ricky's "what if I told you I was gonna kill myself" line, his way of asking for love and compassion. And hopefully that is what you'll take away from this feature, having seen past all the bare buttocks and lost souls of the piece, to find instead the message that true friendship is what makes life worth living. Need more be said?
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing UK catalogue
starring: Nick May, Blake Young-Fountain, Damien Fuentes, Tom Merlino, Brian Patacca, Michael Hill,
Michael Apuzzo, Peter Bloch, Daren Dillon, Matthew Sandager with Murray Hill as Mister Santa
and The World Famous *BoB* as Kitty Clause
Copyright 2008 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #180
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