'Garcon Stupide', which translates to 'Stupid Boy' is a French film about a cute but not-so-bright gay young man who drifts through a rather meaningless existence while trying to prove to himself and those around him that he is not as stupid as everyone makes him out to be. Pierre Chatagny, a first-timer in the lead role of Loic, has handsome, angular features and a toned, tan body. The picture of him on the DVD cover really doesn't do him justice and it is surprising that the studio thought that such an image would have any sex appeal to the target audience for this movie. Loic uses his good looks to get easy, anonymous sex through internet hookups, often with older unattractive men. He unexpectedly meets one man for meaningless sex, only to find that the guy is more interested in him as a person, which confuses yet intrigues the young man. A strange, mentoring friendship develops with this unseen man, whose voice we hear but who we don't see on screen. During the course of the movie, we get to see Loic's interactions with his female roommate, who serves somewhat as a "big sister" role in Loic's life. Loic develops unexplainable feelings of jealousy when she becomes interested in another man. Meanwhile, Loic tries to convince himself and others that he is a "real" photographer although he only uses his camera phone to snap pictures.
This film really is a study of Loic, as we watch his reactions and behavior as he interacts with the various people he encounters and as he goes through various activities in his life. There is a great deal of minute detail in the film which really reveals a lot about Loic's personality, even in the seemingly mundane acts of everyday life, such as taking off his shoes as he enters his apartment, methodically slicing apart stuck together pages in a book, or pulling out a dictionary every time he sees a new word he doesn't know. Many of the "minor" activities are not further explained nor lead to anything within the film, but rather serve as a surprisingly effective way for the viewer to really feel like they are getting to know Loic. By the end of the film, you feel like you know him the way you would an old friend, giving you much more insight into Loic as a person than you normally get for a character in most other films. You will either find Loic an immature "stupid boy" as the title states, or you will find him charming and irresistible, as this reviewer did. Either way, viewers will leave the movie feeling like they really know Loic as they would a real person. Much of this effectiveness comes from Pierre Chatagny's highly believable and nuanced portrayal of Loic, and we were mighty impressed by this newcomer's acting skills.
This film is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio. The video quality is generally acceptable, but the DVD does suffer in many of the outdoor nighttime scenes that are lit too dimly, making it hard to see any details or sometimes even see the characters clearly. Fortunately, most of the movie does not take place in such an environment, so this problem is not as severe as it could be. The film seems to have a muted color palette, so there is a noticeable lack of richness or vividness throughout, but we sense this was the filmmaker's intent and not an issue specific to the DVD. Otherwise, the video quality is average for a recent independent release.
This DVD contains options for either a Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 sound mix. The spoken language is French. There are also optional English and Spanish subtitles. Voices are clear and easy to understand and background sounds are at appropriate levels. There is only one very brief scene set in a nightclub, and the bass there is appropriately thumping; otherwise, the film does not really have any audio effects that truly make use of a good speaker system.
There is not a whole lot here by way of extras. Other than the basic scene access feature plus trailers for this and other films from this studio, there is only a short featurette called "Garcon Stupide In Montreal" that was filmed as the film debuted in that city. This featurette is basically a conversation between director Lionel Baier and star Pierre Chatagny. Lionel speaks in heavily accented English, but Pierre's French is translated by an off-screen narrator. Much of the featurette is about Lionel's choice of Pierre for the lead role. The two talk about the use of nudity in the film, particularly discussing one scene that was an extreme close-up of Pierre's penis as he washed it after a sexual encounter and what it reveals about Loic's character. Unfortunately, the featurette is far shorter than it could be, and ends before the viewer would expect without any real wrap-up.
Those viewers who prefer movies with a defined plot may be disappointed at the lack of a clear storyline in this film, but if viewers understand that this is a character study, then the film has done a fine job of creating a fascinating, interesting look at an intriguing character. The filmmakers have really succeeded in making Loic into a character that the viewer will have strong feelings about, whether it be love, pity, or even disgust. Many of Loic's behaviors will be familiar to and particularly "real" for any gay man: reacting to being upset by going out to a crowded dance club and finding an easy hookup, having to wipe and clean one's privates after sex, or lying in one's online profile. Repeated viewings reveal more subtle details in the performance which subconsciously made the viewer really develop a sense of knowing Loic. This film is highly recommended for anyone who would be interested in such a nuanced and unique character study.