If unprofessional "Good Morning, America" film critic Joel Siegel was so offended by a mere scene of harmless dialogue in "Clerks II
" that he childishly stormed out of a screening, as was the controversial case a few weeks ago, he would positively experience a coronary watching "Another Gay Movie." An exemplary model for how to make a good parody, "Another Gay Movie"billed honestly as "the gayest movie ever made" by writer-director Todd Stephens (scripter of 1999's "Edge of Seventeen")spoofs everything from "American Pie
" to "Carrie" to "Queer as Folk" to any number of mainstream teen comedies. In doing so, Stephens is fearless and merciless as he delightfully skewers commercial entertainments by giving them a gay twist. There isn't much in the way of serious social commentary, but in the way the characters' same-sex preference is never judged, looked down upon or met with bigotry is a welcome respite to the prejudices of the real world. Most importantly, "Another Gay Movie" is often fall-down hilarious. Whereas most comedies never have the comic momentum to last a full 90 minutes (i.e. the recent "Strangers with Candy
"), this one bucks the trend and never flags in either the laughter or viewer interest departments.
Following the basic plot mold of 1999's "American Pie
" and satirizing too many of that film's scenes to count, "Another Gay Movie" introduces us to four sex-obsessed, guy-mad best friends on their last day of high school. The perpetually horny Andy (Michael Carbonaro) has a crush on his science teacher Mr. Puckov (Graham Norton) and always seems to be getting caught by his parents ("Kids in the Hall" alum Scott Thompson and drag queen Lypsinka) while sexually experimenting with an assortment of vegetables. The energetic and effeminate Nico (Jonah Blechman) fears coming out to his chirpy mom Bonnie (Stephanie McVay), who appears to be oblivious to the flaming signs. Finally, stud Jarod (Jonathan Chase) and sensitive Griff (Mitch Morris) start dancing around a longstanding attraction and possibly even love for each other, but their feelings are put on hold as two romantic foils show them interest: the handsome, dumb Beau (James Getzlaff) and fitness-trainer-by-day, exotic-dancer-by-night Angel (Darryl Stephens). Egged on by their Stifler-inspired lesbian pal Muffler (Ashlie Atkinson), Andy, Nico, Jarod and Griff decide to make a pact to lose their anal virginity before the summer is over.
Most spoof pictures are barely cohesive as they jump from one throwaway joke and parody scene to the next (2006's "Scary Movie 4
" was recently guilty of this). "Another Gay Movie" has a lot of this, too, but writer-director Todd Stephens never loses sight of the story he is telling and characters he has created. As a side effect, the film isn't just a "Naked Gun"-style lampoon, but an emotionally viable, albeit over-the-top, coming-of-age story that has the viewer actively rooting for the lovable quartet of friends to find happiness. In regards to the gagsa word with two meanings herenot every joke and sketch works gangbusters, but they affront the screen with such fury and the film's tone is so giddily joyous, bright and sunny that it doesn't matter.
Not since John Waters' early "Pink Flamingos" days has a legitimate theatrical release been so totally filthy and yet lovably innocent, courageously traveling where few comedies have gone in the name of pure-bred, graphically sexual raunch. The easily offended shouldn't even think about seeing "Another Gay Movie." Full-frontal male nudity (including a member from Graham Norton's Mr. Puckov that would put Dirk Diggler to shame, and a similar, less impressive sight of "Survivor" winner and recently incarcerated Richard Hatch) is just another day at the office, and any number of sexual perversions and usually off-limits subject matterfisting, scat, accidental incest in a public bathroom, gerbil-usage, and a relationship between a Catholic priest and a boy scoutare also explored to shockingly candid and hysterical effect. Not all of the comedy relies on the physical, however, as the dialogue is snappy and quotable and the homages to gay media and culture are unexpectedly shrewd. Also deserving of praise is a nearly shot-for-shot, beat-for-beat spoof of the prom scene in Brian De Palma's 1976 classic, "Carrie," so spot-on and gloriously ingenious (watch for the falling streamer!) that it might be the funniest scene in any film this year.
The large ensemble deliver go-for-broke performances perfectly matching the pic's goofy nature. The four fresh leadsnewcomers Michael Carbonaro and Jonathan Chase, as Andy and Jarod, and Mitch Morris (TV's "Queer as Folk") and Jonah Blechman (1993's "This Boy's Life"), as Griff and Nicohave excellent chemistry together and are diverse enough to each build individual characters and personalities. Of them, Blechman's Nico is the most fun to watch, and the reaction his mother (played with warm comic brilliance by Stephanie McVay) gives him when he finally ruffles up the courage to come out to her is priceless. As experienced know-it-all Muffler, Ashlie Atkinson (2006's "Inside Man
") makes for a better Stifler-type presence than even Stifler originator Seann William Scott, and Graham Norton (Comedy Central's "The Graham Norton Effect") isahemdifficult to forget as the attractive older teacher of Andy's dreams. There's also a juicy role for Scott Thompson (2004's "My Baby's Daddy
") as Andy's understanding fathersimilarities to Eugene Levy in the "American Pie
" series are not accidentalwhose exploration into his own bisexuality leads him to a cathartic discovery.
With a bouncy original song from Nancy Sinatra, of all people, called "Another Gay Sunshine Day," and above-average technical credits for an indie flick, "Another Gay Movie" is one of the summer's largest genuine entertainments. That its budget isn't even a fraction of the season's big-budget action bombs simply goes to show that all the money in the world can't save a bad script, but solid material can go a long way to make up for little money. Director Todd Stephens dodges all temptations to sappily moralize or get preachy, and spits on every last so-called crude comedy that has come out in the last ten years, making one that the MPAA wouldn't be willing to touch with a ten-foot pole.
"Another Gay Movie" is not rated for a reasonthere's no getting around how graphic it isbut even so, the film is too sweetly crafted and cheerful to be offensive. The film may get its jokes across through exaggeration, but the lead gay characters are not stereotypes; they are nice guys in search of acceptance, sexual gratification, and a deeper connection to another human being, just like roughly every straight person on the planet. As a counterpoint, the sickening homophobic material in recent Hollywood productions like 2005's "The Longest Yard
," and 2006's "You, Me and Dupree
" and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
" is a great deal more distasteful than anything on display here. "Another Gay Movie" pays affectionate tribute to "American Pie
," but it isn't an inferior rip-off so much as a high-spirited, lighthearted, guffaw-inducing companion piece that purposes to give a segment of the population other than heterosexual teenage malesseemingly always the focus of sex comediestheir moment in the spotlight. Cult hit status is already within grasp for this equal parts riotous and randy winner.