"Another Gay Movie," a spoof made by gay filmmakers for gay audiences, falls into the same traps as a lot of niche films. There are awkward cameos by gay celebrities (Richard Hatch and comedian Ant, for example), and many jokes are random and inclusive, where even people within the target demographic may not be pop-culturally savvy enough to get them. In addition, the plot goes sappy on us just when it should be turning up the raucous satire.
The story is a gay twist on "American Pie," alternating between parodying it and simply re-using it, though I suspect the filmmakers are the sort who don't see the difference. Four gay teens, just graduated from high school, vow to lose their virginity before they go to college in the fall. Andy (Michael Carbonaro) is the normal-ish one, the equivalent of Jim in "American Pie," caught here in flagrante with a quiche rather than a pie. Jarod (Jonathan Chase) is a jock who believes his junk is unimpressive. Griff (Mitch Morris), the nerd, is secretly in love with Jarod, evidently unaware of the latter's smallness issues. And Nico (Jonah Blechman) rounds out the foursome as the flamingly, outrageously flamboyant one.
What ensues is a bright, candy-colored parade of tryin'-to-get-some scenarios. The lads go to clubs, look online and seek out referrals, cattily monitoring one another's progress as they go. Some of the situations are funny, particularly when Scott Thompson is on the screen as Andy's too-helpful father, but many of them are hoping to get by sheerly on outrageousness. When Nico has an embarrassing intestinal incident while prepping for what he hopes will be his deflowering, I thought: This is the same thing that happened to Jeff Daniels in "Dumb & Dumber." Ah, but Jeff Daniels' character wasn't gay, and a naked Richard Hatch wasn't sitting outside the bathroom door!! So it's not just a rip-off of another movie. It's a GAY PARODY! See how brilliant it is?
Ugh. The movie has too much of that, "that" being both poo-poo-pee-pee humor, as well as rehashings of old plot devices where all they've done is throw in some gay pop-culture references, as if that were all it required. Writer/director Todd Stephens does well when he keeps the jokes sly, as he does with the few "Mommie Dearest" references. When he's blaring the jokes' intentions through a megaphone, the subtlety is lost.
Yet there are times when he achieves a sort of reckless abandon, throwing everything madly out there to see what works, and you can respect that kind of energy. His cast, while not the most gifted of comic actors (and more skill in that area would have helped some scenes), are nonetheless eager, game, and apparently unselfconscious. Their willingness to do ANYTHING for a joke is admirable, no matter how misguided some of the jokes may be.
There are optional English subtitles, but no alternate language tracks.
VIDEO: The anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) transfer is vivid and clear. Stephens talks about the film's colors and production design in the commentary, and the DVD lets the bright, sunny colors shiny through.
AUDIO: Average (that is to say high-quality) 5.1 Dolby Digital.
EXTRAS: Writer/director Todd Stephens and producer Jesse Adams provide a commentary in which Adams says very little and Stephens says a lot. No awkward silences here! Stephens speaks almost non-stop, but he doesn't blather. He talks specifically about production design, casting decisions, location shoots, small details, and other movie-making minutiae. It's a good, informative commentary.
There are several deleted and extended scenes (16:49) with optional commentary by Stephens and Adams. (To get the commentary, you have to turn it on back during the disc set-up menu; there is no prompt to do so when you play the deleted scenes.) The scenes were all cut primarily for time, not because they altered the plot or character arcs. They're worth watching if you liked the movie.
Next up: a Moviefone "Unscripted" segment (7:55), recorded for the Tribeca Film Festival, with Stephens and star Michael Carbonaro interviewing each other. Their responses are typically bland for promotional materials like this, and the format of asking each other questions is just cheesy.
One interesting feature is footage from a staged reading (7:09) of the movie. (If you don't know what that is, it's where the actors just sit in a row on the stage and read from their scripts, very informally "acting out" the movie.) A few of the actors in it wound up being in the actual film; a few others did not; two more appear with their faces blurred. Apparently, they not only didn't appear in the film, but didn't even want it known they'd ever participated in the staged reading.
Nancy Sinatra sings the film's opening title song, and the extras include footage of the recording session (3:03). Cute enough.
Finally, there's "Pillow Talk with Grandpa Muffler" (7:00). This consists of audio of George Marcy, who plays Grandpa Muffler in the film (whom Nico hooks up with), being coached on how to talk dirty during his sex scene. The funniest part is that it goes on for seven minutes and the DVD won't let you fast-forward. I guess they want you to hear the whole thing.
The film has its moments, and the DVD treatment is quite good. Still, buying it would be more of a political act, where you want to support the idea of gay cinema rather than this specific movie, which is only so-so.
(Note: Most of the "movie review" portion of this article comes from the review I wrote when the movie was released theatrically. I have re-watched it in the course of reviewing the DVD, however.)