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Boys Briefs
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by Charles Tatum

"I'll be brief...(insert underwear joke here)"
3 stars

Six short films about homosexual awakening are gathered together in one easy to manage DVD. Some are good, some are not, and the two hosts (picked primarily for their cutie pie looks) annoy immediately. The six films are reviewed individually:

The Absolution of Anthony (Directed by Dean Slotar)
Anthony (Joe Quintero) lives with his grandfather (Carlos Rafart), makes obscene phone calls, pines for basketball playing Joe (Gary Cohen), and is the focus of concern for Father Carson (Victor Garber). This ends abruptly, there are too many close-ups, and I am still not sure what Slotar was trying to say. (3/5*)

Smear (Directed by Sam Zalutsky)
Davey (Marc Fratello) pines for his straight friend Frank (Steven Amato), who prefers to spend time with girlfriend Jennie (Liat Goldman). The three goof around at a local park, before Davey commits a startling act of violence. Again, more film would have helped, Fratello looks a lot like Hilary Swank from "Boys Don't Cry," and this ends without moving me one way or another. (3/5*)

Front Room (Directed by P.Y. Clouin)
A guy licks an unknown body part, which turns out to be his bicep, for under a minute. What film festival would take this kind of one-joke material over films that might have something to say? Dumb. (1/5*)

Fairy Tale (Directed by David Kittredge)
This is by far the best of the compilation. Partners Todd (Terrance Flynn) and Eric (Eric M. Cole) go to Todd's hometown to visit his mother Eleanor (Paula Roth) on his birthday. Eleanor dislikes Eric, despite his best efforts, and Todd does something that angers his loving partner, as well. While some of the dialogue is too soap operatic (Eleanor will never have grandkids, Todd can't have sex in his parents' house), Flynn and Cole have such a good chemistry that I could believe them as a couple. There are some weird "Little Red Riding Hood" allegories at work here, but this is the better of the six films. (4/5*)

Piglets (Directed by Luc Feit)
This German film plays like one of those racy foreign ads you see on television clip shows sometimes, and it is very funny if not too short. Two men try to make love as an elderly woman in the next room keeps distracting them with normal things like loud music...and a giant drill. Definitely oddball, but I thought it was different enough. (4/5*)

Beloved Stanley (Directed by Simon Chung)
Kevin (Wes Wong) is a mixed race teen who is being shipped off to an English boarding school away from his best friend James (Oliver Williams) and his beloved Stanley section of Hong Kong. Not much happens, their possible homosexual relationship is only hinted at, but the locations and great editing save this from being just another coming of age story. (3/5*)

The video's hosts, Michael and Jason, make unfunny jokes about the flicks while walking around L.A.'s Melrose Avenue. They bring nothing to the table, I would have liked to know more about the film makers instead of watching these two.

"Boys Briefs" is a mixed bag, and I will give it an average rating. I will recommend it on the strength of some of the films, but with this many shorts, someone is bound to find something.

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originally posted: 06/10/04 23:57:37
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6/10/04 tatum Good + Bad = Average 3 stars
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  02-Feb-1999 (NR)
  DVD: 26-Sep-2000



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