Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cum On Feel the Boyz: "On the Couch" (2004)

Tom Bianchi interviews and photographs over a dozen men in their altogether, digging into their psyche to uncover their innermost fears and fantasies...or just to watch them have hot gay sex.

The DVD set is divided between two discs. Volume One is San Francisco, where Bianchi has his models pleasure themselves and each other on a couch in his home. The men are not models, and the couch metaphor carries over into what the men think of their sexuality. Volume Two takes place in Toronto, where a bed and breakfast's love seat boldly carries on with the "on the couch" motif. In Canada, he has a shoot with four men at once, and eventually becomes part of a shoot with a slave-like subject.

Both discs run about three hours total, and I wished for something different almost as soon as the first disc began. The viewer is mislead into thinking this is going to be a behind-the-scenes documentary about the photo shoots. The video makers turn on some very drowsy music and shoot the models, with Tom hanging around the edge taking his photographs. As the shoot goes on, I became progressively bored (and sleepy).

Bianchi pushes the fact that these men are not professional models, but they look it. If you expect Average Joe Six Pack to come in and drop his trousers, you will be disappointed. One of the models, a Canadian television personality, does not want to show his penis in the shoot with his lover, and Bianchi almost cancels the shoot. So Bianchi wants only hot looking Everyday Guys who are willing to get hard for the camera, outside life be damned.

Eventually, "On the Couch" is all sound and fury signifying horniness. The models come in and do their thing, and the probing interviews are little more than small talk. One guy mentions his kids before reaching into his underwear, I frankly wanted to hear more about his kids. Bianchi was disappointed with homosexual erotica, and decided to make his own. He falls into the same trap as other photographers, accepting only the perfect, while trying to appeal to the average gay man who had hoped to be represented in Bianchi's work. There is more designer underwear on display than the skivvies gondola at the outlet mall, and the men are clean and perfect.

If it looks like overly handsome men making love, smells like overly handsome men making love, and sounds like overly handsome men making love, then it is not average gay men given the chance to get in touch with their sexual side. Want gay porn? Buy "On the Couch." Want a great documentary about sexual identity and homosexuality? Buy "The Cockettes." (* *) out of five stars.