All The Rage
This starts out as one kind of movie and ends as something entirely different and I didnít find that journey convincing. I didnít feel that the ending fit with the rest of the film and itís left me feeling unsatisfied, which isnít really what you want from a movie, is it?
Thereís no doubt that this film is utterly packed with superb eye candy. The men are lovely, particular the lead, Chris. There are some nice gay scenes: nothing graphic, but lots of kissing and romance. Itís amusingly fluffy to start with, almost bordering on camp at times, but itís charming with it.
Chris is rich, beautiful, with a great career and apartment. Heís a blond Brian Kinney to all intents and purposes. He sleeps with hundreds of men, never returns calls and scorns men who do.
One night heís invited to his friendsí house for dinner and totally unexpectedly, during dinner the shy, ordinary book editor, Stuart, takes his hand under the table. Itís a real tingle factor moment, believe me, and Chris, for all his sexual energy finds it so, too. What confuses him then is Stuartís diffidence and unwillingness to jump into bed with him. For the first time Chris has to work at something that he wants. As the days pass heís wants Stuart more and more until heís desperately in love.
Thereís a great music soundtrack on this film and the sets and technical quality are good. The acting is a bit iffy: the men are trying too hard; theyíre often way too campy, but itís not so bad that it spoils the film in any way. John-Michael Lander is so pretty and his body is so incredible that you can forgive this film quite a lot. I didnít rate his acting too highly until the last twenty minutes or so, when his performance is quite startling. Thereís no doubt the camera loves him and the device of having him filmed in black and white talking to a camera in between scenes proves this. You canít take your eyes off him.
Definitely worth watching, but problematic, too.
This is either sharp satire exposing the worst aspects of gay life in the 90s or cruel navel-gazing that panders to societyís deepest homophobic prejudices.† In the beginning itís a bit like The Broken Hearts Club moved from West Hollywood to Boston.† But a more accurate comparison would be QAF.
Itíd misrepresent the film to say it targets the gay community at large.† Its focus is narrow:† affluent, middle-class professionals obsessed with style and image over substance.† The story centres round Christopher, 30-something successful lawyer, very like Brian Kinney- without any of Brianís redeeming qualities.†
Chris appears to have it all, job, money, looks and a body to-die-for.† But achieving this level of perfection absorbs all his time and energy, leaving no room for romance.† He has casual anonymous encounters with men he refuses to see more than once.† He keeps score in a little black box in his nightstand drawer.
Best buddy Larry is equally vain and vapid, without the good looks.† However, Chris does have a friend, Danny, who is in a stable longterm relationship, with dashing (and rich) older man, Tom.† Danny & Tom think all Chris needs is to meet the right man and heíll forsake his wicked ways and settle down like them.† So they play matchmaker, fixing Chris up with downstairs neighbour, Stewart, a book editor.
Stewart is sweet and loveable, everything Chris isnít; but heís hurting from a failed relationship with a two-timing cad and finds it difficult to trust.† Though nothing like Chrisí idea of an ideal lover, somehow the two hit it off.† Progress is agonisingly slow.† Glaciers move quicker than Stewart & Chrisí love-life.†
Is love going to change Chris, from shallow, selfish and empty, to warm, caring and compassionate?† Can Stewart trust Chris the former stud not to do the dirty?† Opposites do attract.† Stewart & Chris, however, make such an unlikely couple I found it difficult to accept their relationship could work.† What does Stewart see in Chris?† What do they talk about?† We donít see them together much except snuggled under the sheets or with Tom & Danny.† Who far from being the perfect couple are themselves having problems, now the rut of familiarity and non-compatible sex drives has taken the shine off gay marriage.† Inevitably Chris is tempted to stray.†
The film is good at showing how hard it is to find love and just how much work is needed to build a successful relationship into long-term commitment.† My problem with it is Chris.† I didnít like him and the actor is weak (good eye-candy though). †I was concerned about sweet Stewart in his stripey PJs, that he was going to end up hurt and betrayed by another love-rat who doesnít know a good thing when heís got it tucked up next to him.
Chris is a lot like Alan Helms (review soon) self-obsessed golden gay-boy of 60s/70s NYC, who lost himself in a haze of drugs and sex to compensate for self-loathing so crippling he wasnít capable of loving anyone, least of all himself.† Thatís when I began to think more deeply about Chris and his story and realised maybe the film is cleverer than I originally gave credit.† Alan Helms didnít turn his life around until he lost fabled beauty to age, and he never did find lasting love.† However he learned to accept himself and achieve inner peace.† I am trying very hard to want that for Chris.† But a little voice keeps telling me you only get what you deserve.† A thought-provoking film thatís worth a look.