Bristol wouldn’t spring to most people’s minds as a hotspot of gay cinema, but it’s been getting that way in the last few years thanks to a bunch of dedicated guys who between them have brought us the likes of Shank, Release and now Buffering.
Seb (Alex Anthony) and Aaron (Conner McKenzy) are two young gay guys trying to live out a suburban idyll in their own house full of the domestic niceties. However the recession has hit and unbeknownst to Seb, Aaron has lost his job and they’re way behind on the mortgage. It’s gotten to the point where there’s only a short time to sort things out before the bank comes and takes their home. Things are compounded when Seb loses his job as well.
Aaron thinks he’s found the solution, which involves filming him and Seb having sex. At first he doesn’t bother telling Seb about this, which understandably causes a bit of friction when he finds out. However with a desperate need for cash, they both agree to harness the money-making possibilities of having sex on the web. All seems to be going well, especially with the entrepreneurial help of their friend, Jem (Jessica Matthews), but things get increasingly difficult as the sexual stakes are raised and they set out to find a third person to join them for the ultimate online sex show. Can Seb and Aaron’s relationship stand the pressure, especially with the hunky, metrosexual next door neighbour getting into the mix?
Made for only £30,000, Buffering is far from perfect but it is a lot of fun. The script, from writers/directors Christian Martin and Darren Flaxstone, is a little uneven and has the indie tendency of letting the plot lead the characters rather than the other way around. Particularly early on, it’s tough not to feel that Seb is the most ridiculously understanding boyfriend in the world, which then makes you slightly wonder why he suddenly gets so angsty towards the end – other than the plot needs him to, of course. That said, it’s an entertaining and fairly sexy romp, with two talented young leads who help the movie overcome any script shortcomings.
The film has a good sense of humour and while it does occasionally get a tad silly, it always stays on the right side of farce. It is a bit of a shame that the film didn’t have a bit more cash, as while it does extremely well with the little budget it had, it does feel like it’s limited the film somewhat. This is a movie that essentially wants to be a gay version of a mainstream sex comedy, but with so little money it inevitably feels a tad contained. But as I said, it does very well with what’s it got and certainly manages to entertain across its 80 minute running time.
It’s lightweight fun that succeeds in its aims – and who knows, it may help Bristol to become the gay movie capital of the UK!
Overall Verdict: While Buffering has a few problems, it’s a largely successful British sex comedy that’ll leave you with a smile on your face.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac