Rated R, language, sexual subject
| This first
movie from a team of film school friends acting as director-writer and
co-producers chooses a volatile topicstreet hustlingthat
has been treated in three all-time great moviesMidnight Cowboy, American Gigolo, and My
Own Private Idahoand, sad to say, fails to deliver the impact needed
to qualify as a new contribution to the genre. Like Midnight Cowboy
and My Own Private Idaho it is using its topic as a device
to develop its real theme, which is friendship and self-sacrifice in the
midst of personal turmoil and social degradation.
But all that's new here is that the setting is Christmas in the subtropic climate of Hollywood, and these boys, who are portrayed well by David Arquette and Lucas Haas, unlike any of the characters in the three preceding movies are open about their livelihood being gained as sex objects for homosexual men. American Gigolo was about a hustler who had struck the big time and crossed over from male to rich female customers; My Own Private Idaho was about a character whose sexual preference was ambivalent and for whom hustling was just an easy way to make some money, and Midnight Cowboy was about a southern boy in the big city with dreams of being a women's gigolo but whose hopes were dashed on the hard pavement of reality.
And, it being the '90's, the dialogue is more explicit about what homosexual acts consist of than the earlier movies, though there are no references here that weren't in Saturday Night Fever 20 years ago. The performances by Arquette and Haas (the innocent boy of Witness grown up and still looking but not acting innocent) will make this worth seeing for their fans, so I give it a slight endorsement. And for a first-time film it deserves a good grade, but another first-film recently reviewed here, Love and Other Catastrophes, would skew the grading curve for this one toward a "C," I'm afraid.
Photo © by the film's distributor
© 1997, Jon Kennedy