Sep 21, 2014

[Movies] The Young, the Gay and the Restless (2006)

I get genuinely surprised at times with some of the LGBT movies that I've gathered over the years. Admittedly I'm used to be a lot more liberal about acquiring such movies given the odd desire to somehow support the industry. And that means watching some pretty crazy movies at times. Over time, I've come to accept that I have a bit of a soft spot for gay comedies only because a lot of them are genuinely funny.

The Young, the Gay and the Restless had camp written all over it given its title alone. And I do have a thing for low-brow humor at times, I must admit. But "good camp" (as strange as the term may sound) is hard to find and I don't think this movie was quite on the mark.

If I were to attempt to define that further, I'll admit that any final answer will rely more on personal preference I suppose. There's a fine line between bad comedy and camp and where that line lies may depend on your perspective and general comedic sensibilities. What is hilariously campy for some may only be cringe-worthy for others. Thus really good camp manages to elicit laughs across a wider spectrum of viewers on its own merits alone.

Synopsis:  The Young, the Gay and the Restless is a 2006 LGBT comedy written and directed by Joe Castro together with creator Steven J. Escobar. As the title of the movie implies, the movie is positioned as a comedy that tries to parody daytime soap operas.

The aging matriarch of sorts Victoria Gaylord (Ms. Elliot) is not in the best of health and has been suffering significant fainting spells. And thus in this time of need her family and friends begin to gather at the family mansion for a birthday party of sorts. Her husband Francis (Joe Haggerty) naturally calls the family physician, Dr. Bender (Buck Davis) to check on her and determine what's wrong.  In the side there's some odd drama with the houseboy Andrew (Scott Whitaker), a gay twink who is fending off the advances of one of the female guests along with one of his ex-boyfriends.

Things get even worse when the children arrive given their own complicated stories. Daughter Cynthia (Holly Karrol Clark) seems unusually close with one of her brothers while her husband Phillip (Caleb Campbell) is highly homophobic and is reluctant to attend what is sure to be another gay romp. He almost immediately has to fend of the advances of the other Gaylord sibling, Nicholas (Justin Marchert), who has a very strong hunch that Phillip isn't as straight as he thinks he is.

I really wanted to like this movie as things started. It had all the elements of what could have been a really campy soap opera parody including a wealthy matriarch played by a drag queen and a whole family full of complicated sub-plots and various intrigues. But as things progressed and the acting just seemed to get worse and worse, it became harder and harder to see things through.

I especially didn't get the point of the houseboy's subplot. Andrew wasn't really a character nor was he necessarily universal eye candy. Instead he was just sort of there and his ridiculous story about all these different people wanting to sleep with him (WHY?), them eventually having some sort of an implied orgy and the odd man out feeling all devastated just seemed like a waste of airtime. Soap operas have better stories than that.

The core story around the Gaylord family was sort of decent buy the guy playing the husband Francis was a really bad ham of an actor. Then you have gay son Nicholas who was supposed to be all cocky and self-assured in his sexuality but really just came out rather wooden. How the heck was he supposed to be able to seduce other guys is anyone's guess, what more the conflicted straight husband of his sister?

The angle with the father was really weird, but I suppose it made some soap opera sense. But his aforementioned bad acting killed any hopes of his plot threads having any true value. And while Ms. Elliot was doing her best to imitate the sort of old Hollywood actress archetype that might of worked great here, in the end her performance just didn't quite carry through.

I suppose The Young, the Gay and the Restless could have been a LOT worse, but it certainly wasn't able to cross that B-movie line from corny into fun camp. Instead the whole thing just felt like a mess of a movie and I'm glad I didn't pay to watch it. The movie as a whole only really gets 1.5 sad plot twists ruined further by bad acting out of a possible 5.

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