From its title, you might expect this to be a spoof that takes aim at the done-to-death genre of incessantly happy queer romantic comedies, the kind that indie studios seem to churn out monthly. An automated script generator could and probably does write them by numbers: boy meets boy, boy cheats on boy, boys make up and have a fabulous commitment ceremony in Canada.
But writer-director Todd Stephens has his bar set much lower than your average gay date flick. Another Gay Movie wants nothing more and nothing less than to be a very raunchy homo version of Not Another Teen Movie, which was itself a not-very-funny spoof of the passable Porky's rip-off American Pie.
Adding abused gerbils, nipple clamps and lubed-up vegetables to a concept this watered-down doesn't make it any funnier. But damn it if they aren't determined to try anything for a lame laugh or two. Stephens and his often buck-naked cast attempt to ratchet up the outrageous factor to absurd proportions, so much so that even the shock wears off after about 10 minutes. If the sound effects from the improvised dildo in the first scene weren't enough, then just wait for the punch line to the penis-pump-gone-awry joke. Or better yet, don't. The phrase "trying too hard" never seemed more appropriate, on every level.
Broad comedies play in stereotypes, and this one is bulging with them. Our four teenage heroes are each meant to represent a clichéd quadrant of gay existence: twinky queen (Jonah Blechman), straight-acting jock (Jonathan Chase), sweater-vest wearing geek (Mitch Morris) and boy-next-door (Michael Carbonaro). They're all on a quest to lose their virginity or as they put it, "get some assplay" and we're subjected to their misadventures at every turn. Along the way we encounter the German high school teacher who's into BDSM (the usually charming Graham Norton), the butch lesbo best friend named Muffler (Ashlie Atkinson, providing a couple of the movie's only funny moments) and the "million-dollar bear" (none other than Survivor creepo Richard Hatch, playing himself).
Like other recent gay filmmakers, Stephens aims to outdo John Waters, but without any hint of the cult-cinema master's anarchic, transgressive genius. The occasional Mommie Dearest-quoting drag queen or golden-shower sequence doesn't mean you're pushing any envelope other than your own, and the just-short-of-hardcore sex scenes that pepper the film are more leering than funny. (The MPAA would've had a field day with this one: "Rated NC-17 for scary depictions of buttplugs, Prince Albert piercings and home enema kits.") In fact, unless you've got a thing for one of the cast members, gay men are best advised to stay home and rent some good ol' fashioned porn instead: At least its intentions are clear, and there will no doubt be more laughs.
Showing at the Main Art Theatre (118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111).
Michael Hastings writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].