Big Gay Releases (with straight actors)
Two upcoming films about gay couples feature big name celebrities. Is mainstream film becoming more queer-friendly or are the white, mostly monogamous characters and the straight actors that play them anything but revolutionary?
I Love You Phillip Morris stars Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. The law finally catches up with Carrey's con-man character Steven, and he meets McGregor (he's the beloved Phillip Morris) while serving time.
Overall, the film seems to be more about Steve's heists and cons (with an unsurprising amount of physical comedy) than a love story à la Brokeback. The film's exploits are dark and zany not because they involve a gay couple, but because the exploits are actually dark and zany. Like The Informant, it's a zesty take of a bizarre true story of a desperate man. That is, according to the trailer on the film's website.
But is the trailer marketing a different film? Its gay plotline, and a sex scene in particular, has been rumored to be the cause of the film's continually delayed release. Although it met warm reviews at Sundance in 2009, even as of last week there reports of the film's release suspeneded "indefinitely" (it now looks like it will be released July 30th). How much is glossed over in the new trailer? Was the postponement due to studio or financial reasons? Or as Gawker continually speculated, because American wasn't ready to watch Ace Ventura go gay?
Worries: That Steven's illegal escapades are somehow tied into his sexuality; that there will be jokes where the gay men don't deliver the punchlines, but are the punchlines.
Hopes: That the sex scene really is too racy for America! It's only fair after Bruno and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
The Kids Are All Right features two more straight actors, Julianne Moore and Annette Bening, as a lesbian couple whose teenage kids look up their sperm donor dad (Mark Ruffalo), who turns out to be more playboy than father figure. Antics ensue, including the kids rebelling by doing mildly dangerous things with their new found DNA-provider, and Moore's character locking lips at least once with the Ruffalo's, with a big round of hugs at the end, all to the tune of Vampire Weekend.
At AfterEllen, Dorothy Snarker says she isn't keen on the "'lesbian has an affair with a man'-storyline, [but] I’ll stomach it because of Cholodenko’s track record. In movies like High Art and Laurel Canyon she has painted complex (if not always happy) portraits of relationships and sexual ambiguities."
Worries: played-out stereotypes such as daughter's "Mom I'm eighteen years old!" and Ruffalo's tired clueless dad character (seriously, Robin Williams filled the quota for this year ten times over with Old Dogs)
Hopes: That this well-to-do, two-parent, white family goes beyond the recognizable cliches of family comedies to prove that they are actually "unconventional."
Are my worries unfounded? My hopes unrealistic? Are you going to watch these movies? Readers, weigh in!
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