Cock & Bull Story is an enticing name for this movie about two friends, one street tough, the other an up and coming boxer who is trying to fight his way out of Chicago. Both young men grapple with the concept of homosexuality in very different ways. So is this a sexy, erotic gay love story as the title may suggest? Not quite.
Trevor is the cute boxer whose manager/coach is pushing him towards the big time. He has dreams of getting out of Chicago's Southside, and hopefully taking his girlfriend along with him. His biggest foil tends to be Jacko, who's always taking him out to cause trouble when he should be training.
But Trevor's got troubles of his own. There's a key to his constantly winning boxing matches—his own secret ammunition. He gets his opponent in a clinch, and in this sweaty, muscular clinch, he pushes his involuntary erection up against the opponent's crotch. The opponent is shocked, caught off guard, and the next thing you know, lying flat on the floor.
As one can now tell, the 'cock & bull' in the title takes on a whole new meaning, the two animals adopting very different metaphors in the boxing ring. And, while this is a wonderful concept, and a fantastic look at internal homophobia in close contact sports that, ironically, have a terrible fear of man-on-man contact that doesn't involve violence, it also creates a difficult search for the proper audience.
Perhaps this movie came along too late, but at this point in time, it's just not the kind of downer of a plot that gay audiences are looking for. The film is focused on violence between men (you can go into a straight bar any night to see that), gay bashing, self-loathing, shame at being gay, and in the end, tragedy for the gay. It's an interesting story, as I said, but I just don't think gay audiences will become that engrossed in this violently macho film, which is just gay enough to hold no interest for straight audiences. For the gay viewer, there's no intimacy between men, no nudity or sexual situations (there are butt shots of each of the lead characters, if those aren't stunt bubbles—I mean, doubles), just lots of disturbing negativity. Even if you are willing to look past all that, there was something missing from the characters. You never really felt any sympathy for them. Travis's girlfriend wasn't of any interest because she wasn't in the forefront of his life or the plot (and do we really care that he has a girlfriend anyway?), and there was a subplot of him being concerned about leaving his mother behind at the hands of her apparently no good husband, but that was not well drawn either, so you once again, didn't care. You mostly spent the time wondering if Travis was ever going to get it on with a guy, and if that guy would be Jacko.
Even so, the acting was first rate and as I said before, it was a very unique subject to tackle, it was just done too fatalistically.