Luster

If you're familiar with writer-director Everett Lewis's raunchy FLESH AND BONE (1996), it's not a total shock when this gay romantic comedy suddenly veers into to heavy S&M, non-consensual sex and suicide. If nothing else, Lewis is consistent in his preoccupations. Jackson Jones (Justin Herwick) is a poet, though everything about him screams "indie slacker"...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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If you're familiar with writer-director Everett Lewis's raunchy FLESH AND BONE (1996), it's not a total shock when this gay romantic comedy suddenly veers into to heavy S&M, non-consensual sex and suicide. If nothing else, Lewis is consistent in his preoccupations. Jackson Jones (Justin Herwick) is a poet, though everything about him screams "indie slacker" — blue spiked hair, goatee, skateboard, a job at an independent record store, his own 'zine. And he's a poet with a problem: He's in lust with his cousin, Jed (b. Wyatt), who's visiting L.A. from Iowa. Is it really incest, Jackson wonders, if it involves two guys? But Jackson's in love with Billy (Jonah Blechman), a damaged twink in white leather pants whom Jackson spotted at a party. Much nicer is Derek (Sean Thibodeau), a straight-laced romantic who one day wanders into the record store and falls hopelessly in love with Jackson. Unfortunately Derek is too white-bread for this queercore punk and besides, Jackson's channeling his deep feelings for Billy into the lyrics he writes for tapped-out and deeply closeted rock star Sonny Spike (Sex and the City's Willie Garson), who, unbeknownst to Jackson, has his own special relationship with the poet's muse. And while Jackson may not appear to be a ray of sunshine in anyone's life, his otherwise straight best friend, Sam (Shane Powers), has also fallen in love with him. Tragically, Jackson hasn't a clue. Already overloaded with too many extraneous characters, this wobbly romance is thrown completely off balance by the Sonny/Billy subplot, which is more disturbing than warranted. Lewis throws around a lot of punk-rock attitude and post-modern jabber about art — Jackson's friend Alyssa (Pamela Gidley) is an aspiring photographer — none of which feels particularly authentic. While Lewis isn't exactly Bruce LaBruce, it's refreshing to see even slightly edgy images of gay life that have nothing to do with Will & Grace or Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Jackson's verses, read in voiceover by Herwick, are by the truly transgressive poet and novelist Dennis Cooper.

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: If you're familiar with writer-director Everett Lewis's raunchy FLESH AND BONE (1996), it's not a total shock when this gay romantic comedy suddenly veers into to heavy S&M, non-consensual sex and suicide. If nothing else, Lewis is consistent in his preocc… (more)

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