Even without the pre-title announcement that this romantic comedy is writer-director Patrik-Ian Polk's first film, it's pretty obvious that we're in the hands of a beginner. Polk's script is a rehash of every gay buddy flick from BOYS IN THE BAND (1970) to THE BROKEN HEARTS CLUB (2000), and technically the film leaves plenty to be desired. It is, however, energetic and ambitious, and its likeable cast marks a welcome return of non-white faces to the center of a gay-themed film. Polk uses a friendly game of "Who's Hot/Who's Not" to introduce his four main "punks" urban slang for gay men of color each of whom is struggling with single or semi-detached life in West Hollywood. Marcus (Seth Gilliam) is a successful fashion photographer who hasn't had a date in over a year; his unwavering belief in true romance makes no allowances for one-night stands, while his fear of contracting HIV keeps him from hooking up with anyone at all. His best friend Hill (Dwight Ewell) is just the opposite. After catching his boyfriend, Gilbert (Rudolf Martin), making out with another man at Hill's 30th birthday party, no less Hill is decidedly single, promiscuous and loving it...or so he claims. No one's really sure who Amazonian drag queen Chris (Jazzmun), who fronts a lip-synch quartet devoted to Sister Sledge, is dating, and Chris isn't telling; her friends guess her mystery man is either very famous or totally non-existent. Dante (Renoly Santiago), meanwhile, is too young to settle down; he still lives at home with his wealthy parents in Beverly Hills. If Polk's characters are familiar, the dilemmas each faces are more so. Marcus falls for his new next-door-neighbor, Darby (Rockmond Dunbar), a hunky musician who comes complete with a girlfriend (Vanessa Williams). Hill is secretly heartsick over Gilbert. Chris's increasingly Diana Ross-like behavior threatens to break up the group she founded. And Dante, well, Dante isn't really enough of character to have his own story line, so he has to settle for a bad drug experience. In its formative years, the so-called "New Queer Cinema" was largely defined by the early films of such black directors as Julien Isaacs and Marlon Riggs, but it's been a long time since a black character has been anything but a supporting figure in a gay movie. Polk's picture is by no means a landmark, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: R
- Review: Even without the pre-title announcement that this romantic comedy is writer-director Patrik-Ian Polk's first film, it's pretty obvious that we're in the hands of a beginner. Polk's script is a rehash of every gay buddy flick from BOYS IN THE BAND (1970) to… (more)