Metro Weekly

Oskar’s Friends

Reel Affirmations 2004

Review by Randy Shulman

Rating: starstar (2 out of 5)

Saturday, 10/23/2004, 2:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre
Italian with English subtitles

Oskar's Friends

ANYONE WITH A hankering to gaze lustfully at handsome Italian men of all ages, from the lithe and willowy to the masculine and buff, should delight in the eye-candy on display throughout this 2002 Italian television pilot. Those seeking something deeper, however, should look elsewhere, as Francesco D’Alessio’s story of a young gay man and his young gay pals is pretty much run-of-the-mill young gay soap territory.

The pilot is littered with an abundance of storylines — all of which are set-ups for the weeks of episodes that might have come had the series been picked up by Italian television. The individual narratives follow paths of romantic entanglements, but none of the storylines congeal in a meaningful way. The whole thing is as choppy as bruscetta and much, much less flavorful.

D’Alessio, who also stars as the central character of Marcello — a lanky, affable guy whose dreams of a fantasy man appear to come true in the show’s “cliffhanger” finale — offers up competent if unexceptional direction. He shows some flair when presenting Marcello’s dreams (which include heavy-footed ballerinas), though there is one extreme low angle shot that causes one to wonder if a cameraman hadn’t suffered a stroke on the set and toppled over.

One thing you can say for the Italians — they wrote the book on how to argue. The frequent shouting jags in Oskar’s Friends are loud and passionate, not to mention excessive. It’s enough to make you want to shout “Basta!”

Oskar's Friends
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Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.