Review by Randy Shulman
Rating: (2 out of 5)
Thursday, 10/18/2007, 7:00 PM
Feature presentation, $10 at Lincoln Theatre
LET’S BEGIN WITH the reason why you’re considering seeing Holding Trevor: Jay Brannan. The hottie from last year’s sexually liberated opening-night film, Shortbus, tries his hand at playing a bitchy sidekick to the film’s titular character. And we learn something about Brannan we suspected but didn’t know for certain until now: He can’t act. Not a whit.
Brannan’s got the screen charisma of not just one dead fish, but of a hundred thousand dead fish. And yet, he can sing — beautifully, in fact. Voice of an angel. And those few moments in which he graces the film with a song, Holding Trevor emits a pleasant rapture.
The rest of director Rosser Goodman’s tale of a young gay man (Brent Gorski, who also wrote the screenplay) who breaks up with his heroin-addicted boyfriend (Christopher Wyllie), finds a sexy, new boyfriend (Eli Kranski), and who struggles to remain on speaking terms with his impossible-to-love friends Jake (Brennan) and Andie (Melissa Searing) is like traveling through The Land of Blah. With the exception of one unexpected revelation, the movie plays out like something you’d see on ”Logo: Television for Gay Men.” It strives to be sensitive, it yearns to be powerful, it wants to tell us something about the nature of relationships, but all it can muster is one basic note: cliché.
Primal screams in car washes? Cliché. Bitchy repartee over too many drinks? Cliché, cliché. A character who tests positive? Cliché, cliché, cliché! Actually, that last one isn’t so much a cliché as a forced plot device meant to stoke the embers of dramatic tension a la Terms of Endearment. Need a touch of drama? Give a character a life-threatening disease!
Add to that scenes that go on well past their welcome, stilted dialogue (”Do you even have a soul?” ”I got rid of that a long time ago”), and characters that leave you feeling so ambivalent you’re more interested in the fate of a random hill of ants, and you have a well-intentioned movie that takes a nosedive off a cliff.
Much of the problem lies with Gorski, who is undeniably attractive but who lacks the electricity needed to bring the leading role to life. You want at the very least a 9-volt battery. What we get is a little, tiny static shock.
To be fair, director Goodman has obvious talent — she has a gift for unique compositions, evident from the movie’s several lovely, visually arresting moments. And yet she’s not experienced enough to wring life out of dead-on-arrival conversations. Let’s hope that next time, Goodman gets handed a better screenplay. — RS