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Review by Dan Odenwald
Rating: (2 out of 5)
Sunday, 10/14/2007, 7:30 PM
Feature presentation, $10 at Lincoln Theatre
WHAT IF THE world were turned upside down and everyone was gay? That’s the premise behind Straight Story, a singularly unsatisfying comedy from Greece. In this cinematic ”reality,” gay people are the majority, and closeted heterosexuals secretly visit straight bars under the cover of darkness. Sound provocative? Not really. It’s more of a bore.
Directed by Efi Mouriki and Vladimiros Kyriakidis, Straight Story is strikingly similar to Almost Normal, an American film from last year’s festival, which had the main character magically transported back to his senior year in high school — with the notable exception that everyone was gay. It was part Freaky Friday, part Peggy Sue Got Married.
Unfortunately, Straight Story doesn’t measure up to any of the myriad storylines it rips off. The plot centers on the handsome Yiannis (Anthimos Ananiadis), the son of two doting, overbearing gay dads (Kiriakidis and Christos Hatzipanayotis). Expected to find a nice boy to settle down with, Yiannis ultimately disappoints, hiding straight porn in his closet and falling for his coworker, the lovely Sofia (Kanellina Menouti).
The problems with Straight Story are legion. The film is overacted within an inch of its life. Meni Kostantinidou, the actress who plays Sofa’s girlfriend, is especially obnoxious. Watching her act is like listening to the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. She literally squawks and squeals her lines. The two fathers are equally annoying. Attempting scenes at domesticity, they end up producing more of a bumbling Abbott and Costello act.
Happily, viewers can find some relief in the actress who plays Sofia. She’s like a Greek Cate Blanchett, only one working with a script about as compelling as a Slim Fast nutritional label.
The film’s themes are ambitious enough: exposing hypocrisy, the commonality of humanity and the overriding power of love. Ultimately what disappoints though is Straight Story’s inability to live up to such lofty notions. Worse still, it’s not funny. Not even the fish-out-of-water gags.
The only thing that seems to ring true in this film is the expression Yiannis wears on his face when dealing with his exasperating dads. It’s an expression you’ll likely have when watching this film. Please, enough. — DO