29th & Gay: DVD Review

by lost_in_wonderland

Please God, when will it end?

That was the only thing I could think of when watching the utter monstrosity known as 29th and Gay.

I wanted to like this movie. I really wanted to like this movie. There's such a lack of authentic gay comedies, I wanted this one to be an indie gem to be treasured.

Needless to say, that was not the case.

James Sanchez is a gay man who has just had his 29th birthday and is feeling the pressure of settling down. He's a wannabe actor who works at an amusement park/movie studio. He has an enormous crush on the coffee boy at the local coffee shop, and engages in several hijinks while spying on him. His best friend and former roommate Roxy, a woman looking for a cause after turning into an activist for no apparent reason, tries to give him sound advice about dating. His other friend Brandon, a flaming queen, drags him out to clubs and hooks up with various boys, leaving James to his own devices. His parents are extremely supportive and try to acclimate to the gay lifestyle that they think their son is living.

Sounds hilarious right?

With better actors, a better script, and a bigger production budget, maybe. The movie looked like someone shot it in their neighborhood with some friends roped in as actors. But the film quality is not what I'm here to talk about.

The actual movie had me nearly crying with boredom about fifteen minutes in. Despite being only an hour and a half long, by the time you get to the half-hour mark, it's already dragged on for too long. James Vasquez, the writer/director/star, tries to put too many things in one movie. If he'd made three seperate short films about the movie's plotline, it might've helped a little bit. Trying to fit a gay man finding love, being told to grow up by a woman who doesn't have a job but is getting herself arrested for causes she knows nothing about, having PFLAG parents who are apparently bumbling fools, some strange dream sequence that doesn't really have a place, and having some existential moral is a little too much to put in one movie. Putting all of that into one movie makes for a confusing, irritating mess.

James' friends, Roxy and Brandon are flat and fairly dislikable, both actors trying to be more than the stock characters Vasquez has squeezed them into. Roxy, a woman without a job, suddenly finding activism is brash and loud and irresponsible and almost unbearably straight, despite the fact that without the boyfriends, she'd be a stereotypical lesbian. Brandon, as I've said before, is a flaming queen, complete with "hilarious" facial expressions, and vocal affectations that would put Paul Lynde and Truman Capote to shame, is stereotypically promiscuous, in spite of his claims of just wanting to find a boy to settle down with; a line that had me screaming at the screen in frustration of the contradiction. They both are self-righteous and think they're doing what they are for the best, and telling James, the only one who's just a bit normal that he needs to get himself straight (so to speak).

The only character I could stand without cringing, was Mike Doyle, the coffee boy. Charming and sweet, he comes off as genuine and likable, but his utter lack of chemistry with Vasquez was almost to the point of being painful.

Vasquez is brilliant near the end of the movie, when in the only part that makes sense, in an audtition process for a play, is onstage, leading me to believe he's better suited to be under those stage lights instead of behind or in front of the camera. That however is ruined as it's a precursor to a ten minute montage of a play James (the character) is in, which is apparently an avant-garde version of Henry V, that James is a part of.

All in all, this movie was painful to watch and I'll never watch it again. I wouldn't advise anyone to watch it unless you want to walk away minus several key brain cells.

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underdarkness's picture

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Ouch!

- One Nation, Under Darkness, with liberty and justice for white, heterosexual, rich, Christian men