Monday, October 22, 2012

Gays of Our Lives: "The Young, the Gay, and the Restless" (2006)



Geez, if you are going to spoof daytime soap operas, you could at least look like you are having fun doing it.

Victoria (Ms. Elliott) and Francis (Joseph Haggerty) have been together for ten years, a lifetime for a gay relationship, according to one character. An anniversary party is planned. Cynthia (Holly Karrol Clark), Victoria's estranged adopted daughter, plans to attend with her issues-laden husband Phillip (Caleb Campbell). Phillip is a "protests too much" homophobe tiring of Francis' son Nicholas (Justin Marchert) making passes at him.

Household help Andrew (Scott Whitaker) is gay but is fighting off the advances of Kristin (Kerry Liu). He seems to be proving his homosexuality by seeing three other men at the same time, all of whom show up during the party. The melodramatic Victoria is suffering from fainting spells and her physician Dr. Bender (Buck Davis) is called in. He continuously butts heads with Francis over Victoria's care. Mark (Dennis Richardson), Victoria's natural son, arrives, and many plot twists get revealed, soap opera-style. Blackmail, a pregnancy, and some deaths occur, all while the viewer checks their watch.

I will give the film this- the lush opening credits resemble any soap opera on television right now. The beautiful California locale is nice to look at. This was appropriately shot on high definition video, and the brief seventy five minute running time is welcome.

I could not tell if the cast's bad acting was intentional or not. There are good performers on real daytime television, soap operas have spawned many an Oscar nominee and winner, but here everyone is bad. This may be the fault of writer/director Joe Castro, whose script is terrible. He never gets any laughs, at all. This genre of television could be mined for comedy ("Tootsie" and "Soapdish" spring to mind), but Castro drops the ball. The direction is beyond listless, as Castro holds medium shots for what feels like hours, and I became embarrassed for the cast as they floundered.

While some of the language and sexual dynamics are not common on network television, this film's sex scenes are too mild. Maybe there is an uncut version of this out there somewhere, but in this version there is no nudity. The camera cuts away or does not show anything, which is frustrating since daytime television's sex scenes are also a genre staple that should have been lampooned more effectively. Come one, a girl and three guy foursome that is as hot as an ice cube? Instead, we get the old chestnut where somebody is scattering the ashes of a character's remains, only to have said ashes blow back in their face...ow, my sides...

It is hard to recommend a film based solely on the opening credits, so I won't. "The Young, the Gay, and the Restless" had potential, but any ten minutes of "Passions" has more laughs. (*) out of five stars. Get this movie now!: The Young, the Gay & the Restless