Sunday, October 23, 2005

movie: Never Been Thawed - C

I missed the Portland Gay and Lesbian Film Festival except for the one movie I saw today, Never Been Thawed. This film came to my attention a while ago because I read a news article that referenced the movie's ex-gay storyline. Quick Review: STRENGTHS: Funny Gags: No Choice Cafe, William Jefferson Clinton Abstinence Center, Frozen Entree Club, Ex-gay Firefighter, ChrisTers rock band, Apathy Magazine, etc. Suburban/30Something/Christian Humor: Film mocks the pointless lives of 30 somethings, suburban life, and Christian media/consumerism. It reminds me of American Movie and Saved!. I have also heard it compared to a movie I haven't seen, Napoleon Dynamite. Good Production: Obviously a low-budget, independent movie, but there appeared to be a lot of attention to detail. WEAKNESS: Repeated/Overused Gags: The Frozen Entree Club, which all the storylines intersect at, becomes overused and a liability akin to a SNL skit gone too long. The magazine gag was cute the first few times, but it also eventually became overused. I became more interested in the contemporary cultural storylines such as the No Choice Cafe, Abstinence Hotline, and Christian Rock Band. Too Many Characters: All the characters had so many eccentricities that they became almost too many to follow. There was Shawn (obsessed entree club president, unhygienic dental hygienist, insincere Christian rock star); Al (unenthusiastic entree club member, clown barber, Shelly admirer); Shelly (entree club member, Christian virgin, abstinence hotline operator, Shawn admirer); Scott (entree club member, ex-gay, firefighter, firefighter training video producer/director); Matt (entree club member, urine catheter promoter, highway slug bug/alphabet leaguer); Vince (entree club member, POW-style corporate trainer); Milo (No Choice Cafe owner, Christian Rock promoter); and Chris (Shawn's deaf brother). Too Long: Although a lot of ideas were squeezed into this film, some just weren't needed to be seen beyond one scene. The later frozen entree scenes became painful to watch and the romantic storylines seemed to go on forever. The movie seemed to drag on 30 minutes beyond its entertaining peak. OVERALL: Grade C Not terrible, but not recommendable either. The movie came close to being as good as a Christopher Guest mockumentary like A Might Wind. However, it needed a more interesting mockumentary topic with more facets and angles than frozen entree collecting allowed. The real funny aspects of the story involved the more contemporary and critical humor about Religious Right surbanites. addendum: I'm not sure why this movie screened at the gay and lesbian film festival. Although there was the funny ex-gay parody subplot which included a hilarious interview with the ex-gay man's butch ex-lesbian bride, I wouldn't consider it a gay-themed movie. In fact, some of the gay and lesbian stereotypes portrayed could be considered somewhat offensive or at least immature. However, I do understand that a gay and lesbian audience may find the film's overall parody of dorky, straight, fundamentalist Christian suburbanites entertaining. Also, the movie was already conveniently scheduled to open at the festival's second venue, The Hollywood Theater, the following weekend.

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