1½ stars (out of four)
Combine the uninhibited raunchiness of John Waters with the gross-out zeal of the Farrelly brothers and you get "Another Gay Movie," a parody and comedy more numbingly disgusting than funny.
Director Todd Stephens ("Gypsy 83," "Edge of Seventeen") clearly intends a gay send-up of "American Pie," an homage to Waters, a tweak at the sometimes mild-mannered skin of gay independent flicks and a bauble to today's free-spirited gay youth--a gay "Porky's," as he himself suggests in movie notes.
While he succeeds at being outlandish, and manages to repaint much of the late adolescent imagery and lust of "American Pie" with gay colors, the result is rarely clever or original, just extreme and yucky. Most of the sexual, S&M and scatological imagery can't even be described in a daily newspaper.
One of the boys gets his privates caught in an electronic enlargement machine. Another almost has sex with his father in a public restroom. Internet sequences include spying on an athlete in the shower and a humiliating, sadomasochistic session with a high school teacher. But Waters and his many descendents have mined the shock terrain already. What Stephens needs is a trickier talent of gay artistry, one dating back at least to Oscar Wilde: wit.
But wit is what is missing, and what remains is so frank and potty-mouthed, you keep watching in spite of yourself. It's an unrewarding addiction.
Aping the "American Pie" set-up, the tale tells of four gay high school seniors determined to get laid before going to college: boy-next-door Andy (Michael Carbonaro), who gets to enact the pie scene here by means of a quiche; jock-ish Jarod (Jonathan Chase), immune to true love despite his looks; nerdy Griff (Mitch Morris), who harbors a secret crush on Jarod; and colorful Nico (Jonah Blechman), whose denial-rich mother and blind girlfriend (one of the movie's more tasteless tidbits) are the only ones unaware of his (obvious) sexuality.
There are cameos by choice gay celebrities, all of them wasted: Scott Thompson, so adept at flamboyance, badly miscast as Andy's closeted, milquetoast dad; "Survivor" Richard Hatch, hired only, it would seem, for his celebrated nudity; Lypsinka (John Epperson), reduced to a few scenes as Andy's mom, none of them funny; and Graham Norton, even more over-the-top than on his talk show aired on the gay TV channel Logo.
Whispers of political edge (the kids attend "San Torum High School") disappear all too quickly, and the storyline apes "American Pie" so faithfully, you start to wonder, is it parody or rip-off?
The four leads are likable, and Ashlie Atkinson turns her stereotypical role as a gutsy lesbian into a small triumph. Gay teens may adopt it as a cult classic. They'd do better to check out the DVD versions of Waters' more dangerous and subversive variety, when this ilk played as a slap at the establishment rather than a less wholesome part of it.
'Another Gay Movie'
Written and directed by Todd Stephens; photographed by Carl Bartels; edited by Jeremy Stulberg; production design by Chris Anthony Miller; produced by Jesse Adams and Karen Jaroneski. A TLA Releasing release; opens Friday at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema. Running time: 1:34. No MPAA rating (no one under 18 admitted).
Andy - Michael Carbonaro
Jarod - Jonathan Chase
Nico - Jonah Blechman
Griff - Mitch Morris