Movie: When I think about hustlers, I either think about my stash of old porn magazines or the classic movie, The Hustler. Both of these have their own merits which I need not get into here. On the other end of the spectrum is a movie not well known for any socially redeeming values, Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler.
The movie takes a look at a gay male prostitute, Bobby, and his relationship with a client, Mr. Smith. Smith is an older guy who doesn't appear to want any sex from the teenage hustler yet pays top dollar for Bobby's company. As the movie progresses, we learn what secrets both of them have and since this isn't a glossy Hollywood movie, no one should expect a happy ending. There's not a lot I can say about the movie without revealing spoilers except that Smith is wealthy, Bobby is poor and both of them are losers.
The acting was poor, often worse than a cold rehearsal at a high school play. Those of you who thought Richard Gere's character in American Gigolo was shallow haven't seen anything compared to the lowlifes here. Matters weren't helped much by a weak screenplay. From pimps that allowed their stable to walk all over them to the "johns" who pay top dollar for street urchins, likely infected with AIDS or hepatitis no less, the movie didn't even try to exist as a plausible look at life on the street. Further, technical values were so weak that I have yet to see an independent movie look this bad in the last 5 years (of very active viewing).
Okay, so if the acting was bad and the screenplay was weak, what about any other aspect of the show? Sadly, the movie had no redeeming qualities for me. It relied on stereotypes that no one believes in, secondary subplots that lead nowhere, and a mindlessly depressing overall tone. If there was anything at all about this movie to recommend, I'd be letting you know. Depressing, poorly put together and lame are all too generous in describing this one. If you simply have to watch this look in the mind of a depraved director, keep in mind that it contains a fair amount of adult content (mostly implied homosexual oral sex and violence/rape of a man by another man) too. For offering so little to like, I rate this one as SKIP IT!.
Picture: The picture was presented in 1.85:1 ratio widescreen color. It looked horribly grainy, the colors bled all over the place, there were lots of compression artifacts and poor lighting. That the focus was off so often was just the icing on the cake as the composition showed very little forethought and I started to suspect that the director randomly shot the movie and edited whatever he had when he ran out of money.
Sound: The movie was presented in stereo English with little separation of the channels. The music was hollow, as were the vocals, but not as bad as the picture.
Final Thoughts: When a low budget movie is about a taboo subject, such as gay male prostitution, it really has to have something to offer an audience-be it a great story, swell acting, or even just a decent soundtrack. When it lacks all the elements of a good movie, and even looks like it was made with a home videocamera more often than not, it really should come with a warning label. Pass this one up unless you are a masochist.