Entertainment :: Movies

Big Gay Love

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Thursday Oct 10, 2013
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a scene from BIG GAY LOVE
a scene from BIG GAY LOVE  

When reviewing indie gay film, you sometimes need to overlook the smaller flaws and try to find the passion that the writer/director had in creating his/her work. Sometimes it’s hard to do that when an interesting and very valid topic is attacked by the over-the-top and illogical antics that the characters slather onto the story. This is the case with "Big Gay Love."

Ringo Le’s film is about a "big" (read: a little overweight) guy named Bob (Jonathan Lisecki) who just wants to be loved. He’s a party planner hoping to buy his first house, but his luck with the boys doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s possible that he’s too self-deprecating.

It’s possible he comes across too awkward and intense. But Bob just wallows in his very deep self-esteem pool while his super gay best friends Chase (Phong Truong) and Aidan (Todd Stroik) wade in the shallow end. They tell him he has nothing to worry about, but then again they are all ripped-bodied and own a lovely home. What do they have to worry about? (My first thought was -- get rid of these douchebags.) The two guys flit around like extras from a homophobic movie from the ’70s where everything is all limp-wrists and big gasping expressions. You know, like drag queens.

Anyway, the chef of a party that Bob has put together for his singer friend Lana (Ina-Alice Kopp) inexplicably takes a fancy to him. Why? No idea. He gazes at him from across the room. Bob reacts nervously. The chef (named Andy and played flatly by Nicholas Brendan) just sort of looks away.

We don’t know what about Bob appeals to him, and we actually never really find out. All they do is have dialogue-less montage dates that feel stolen from B-movies from the ’80s (like "Rollerboogie"). We never see what brings them together. We do see that Bob is embarrassed about his weight and doesn’t want Andy to touch him. He tries to work out with his two buddies, but he always makes it seem like too much effort. (Then, uh, it’s kind of your own fault.)

Eventually, the two get naked and it’s supposed to be great. But then Andy doesn’t show up for an open house, and he never calls Bob to say why. This goes on for days. He finally confronts Andy, who replies that he did show up but he got there late. When Bob asks why he didn’t write/text/email, Andy responds, "I had a lot on my mind." Or something like that. Really? Who’s the bigger f**kup here, Bob or Andy?

The story basically follows Bob’s self-esteem issues and how they keep messing up his relationship with Andy. People try to help but it’s all surface advice from a self-help column, and this is the film’s biggest flaw. There is a problem in the gay community with self image, and this was an amazing opportunity to really look at it with some dexterity. Instead, it becomes over-the-top and in desperate need of an editor to make the humor work. It also needed a lead couple that had more chemistry.

To be fair, there is something charming about Lisecki, and he has a great way with the self-deprecation and throw-away lines. Unfortunately, some of that is undone by editing that lets the joke sit so long that they become unfunny. Similarly, Brendan (of "Buffy" fame) doesn’t have any chemistry here and comes across as almost borderline depressive. He has no vibrancy to him so besides being hunky in a lumberjack way; I’m not sure why Bob fell for him.

But that goes for any of the relationships in the film. None of them seem believable. Not Lana and Bob. Not Bob and Chase and Aiden. Not even Bob and his has-been mother Betty (Ann Walker) who seems like she just walked out of "Raising Hope."

There are a number of other issues, but they get overshadowed by characters you can’t feel sorry for and situations that seem manipulated to create a scene. Despite Lisecki trying hard to make this film a go, this reviewer can’t recommend it.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

This article is part of our "18th Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»

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