May 1, 2011

[Movies] The Big Gay Musical (2009)

The Big Gay Musical (2009)So I'm gay and I like musicals - something that is arguably one of my most prominent / redundant Obviously Gay Trait (OGT) in The Broken Hearts Club parlance. Good grief, a lot of you probably haven't even seen that movie!

For some strange reason though, gay-marketed musical movies don't always turn out all that great, at least in my experience. Maybe it's a budget concern or perhaps there just isn't enough time dedicated to writing a truly compelling story and / or songs or whatever. In the direct-to-video LGBT movie market, musicals tend to be rather hit or miss, which is both highly ironic and sort of sad.

This movie employed multiple elements that you'd think would be right up my alley - the story within a story routine, a musical within the movie complete with campy songs and silly dance numbers, jabs at the conservatives / religious fundamentalists and a fair amount of gratuitous shirtless. While it wasn't enirely bad or anything like that, it also didn't quite work for me for some reason - perhaps something that we can figure out together in the course of this review.

The Big Gay Musical is a 2009 comedy-musical with an obvious LGBT focus at its heart. It was directed by Casper Andreas and Fred M. Caruso, who also wrote the screenplay for this movie.

The lead actors for a new off-Broadway musical entitled, "Adam and Steve: Just the Way God Made'em" find themselves dealing with a variety of personal problems as the show progresses towards it's big debut. Paul (Daniel Robinson) is determined to find the ideal life partner but after his most recent boyfriend once again disappoints him, he decides to try things on the other side of the fence. So he signs up for notorious online hook-up sight Manhunt and try slutting around for a change. On the other hand, Eddie (Joey Dudding) is dealing with still being in the closet for fear of how his religiously conservative parents will react to the news. But given they've made it clear that they'll be attending the play, he decides it's finally time to come out...with less than ideal results.

Cover of "The Big Gay Musical"Cover of The Big Gay MusicalAll the while, their individual stories are juxtaposed against the story of the musical itself - a satirical re-telling of many religious stories but under the assumption that God actually loves gay men but its humankind that has warped his teachings using the B.I.B.L.E. - the Breeder's Informational Book of Living Examples. Of course as the movie progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that the story of the play more and more mirrors the stories of our two protagonists. You'll have to watch the whole movie to find out if Paul and Eddie will find the same kind of happiness that Adam and Steve find for themselves in the play.

Now when this started out, I was trying to consciously keep the on-stage narrative separate from the stories of the actors off-stage. This turned out to be a mistake and thus it felt more and more annoying how the off-stage story seemed incomplete, thus leaving me wanting to just focus on the musical portion of things. I'm not sure what could have been done to better explain how the two stories interconnect for audience viewers like me - I may be part of a small subset that overthinks these things after all.

The musical was definitely the strongest piece of this movie - the lyrics were witty and entertaining and the story had a strong message to send to religious conservatives who tend to enjoy persecuting homosexuals. They stress how a lot of the sacred teachings that have been passed on throughout the generations may have been tampered or misinterpreted by humanity throughout the years, an argument I've often used myself in order to explain my agnostic views. Plus you get a lot of campy moments like having scantily-clad, tap-dancing angels as the chorus in several parts of the play.

The personal stories were somewhat typical in terms of LGBT movies but with the integration with the play being a twist. I just wish I had realized that sooner since I ended up feeling irritated with the lack of true narrative development in the course of the movie. Plus the actors, which generally physically impressive body-wise, weren't overly compelling as actors. Then again, I've never really come to expect a heck of a lot from these kinds of movies in this department - it's still a growing genre within the industry and gay men need to learn how to better represent the LGBT community in front of a camera. There's a world of difference there.

Still, the movie is pretty entertaining for the most part. And if it turns out that the main story doesn't work for you either, at the very least you get to enjoy the fun little musical embedded within the movie. Oh, and there's a Brent Corrigan cameo if that's your thing, although I'm not sure if that scene was truly necessary.

The Big Gay Musical remains to be a good attempt to telling a story in a fairly unique way. While not the most amazing movie to hit the market, it's still worth a view on a lazy weekend together with friends. It gets 3.5 excuses for the actors to take off their shirts in the movie out of a possible 5.

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  1. Naiyak ako sa kanta ng babae sa end of the movie... Fun Movie!

  2. I could have done with a lot less of the trappings of a story they arranged around the real world and had them focus on the musical side of things instead.