Paul and Eddie are preparing for the opening of a new off-Broadway musical called ‘Adam & Steve – Just The Way God Made Them’, in which they star. The show takes the Bible and turns it on its head, making it a story of how through the ages religion has tried to control and stamp out homosexuality. Outside the show, Paul and Eddie find their lives somewhat mirroring the musical, with Paul deciding to stop desperately attempting to settle down and try out being a slut, while Eddie has a shock when he discovers his parents are coming to the opening of the show. He’s severely closeted and hasn’t told them he’s gay, but as he opens up to the idea of expressing his sexuality, he takes a few unnecessary risks.
The Big Gay Musical is the sort of film that deserves praise for putting in a lot of effort to try and be entertaining and memorable, even if it’s not quite as successful as you’d hope. Part of the problem is the musical at the show’s heart. The action jumps from the stage to the performers’ lives, offering plenty of musical numbers. According to the audio commentary, ‘Adam & Steve: Just The Way God Made ‘Em’, was written as a full-length stage show long before the movie came along, but was judged ‘not commercial enough’, which seems to translate to not being particularly great. There are a few decent songs, but the whole thing is too obvious and some of the jokes land with a thud. It is an impressively gay musical though, with a cast of Broadway veterans on hand to give it a bit of panache (and who seem to revel in showing off their pecs), but the material they have to perform is pretty mediocre.
The non-musical parts of the film are more successful, with Daniel Robinson (as Paul), the handsome and talented heart of the movie, who finds being a slapper harder than he expected. The other lead, Joey Dudding, isn’t quite as good, but he handles the role of the closeted Eddie well.
While the plots of a lot of gay movies tend to be either perfunctory or overblown, there’s a genuine and largely successful effort here to deal with real issues, whether it’s people bursting out of the closet and taking unnecessary risks as a result, or trying to balance sex, relationships and happiness. Occasionally the film’s preoccupation with religion and homosexuality does get preachy (which is fine in the musical, but threatens to derail things when one of the main characters starts delivering an impromptu homily), but much of the time it’s not too bad. And as you might have guessed, religious, homophobic types ought to avoid this, as they’ll undoubtedly find the whole thing extremely blasphemous (I know saying that’s is fairly redundant, as I severely doubt any homophobic people would watch a film called The Big Gay Musical anyway).
However, the only thing you really need to worry about is whether it lives up to the promise of being a Big Gay Musical, and there’s no doubt it does. It’s big and camp when it needs to be (particularly when it takes to the stage), resolutely gay and there’s certainly a lot of music. While it’s no masterpiece, it is perhaps a little better than you might expect a movie with such a camp title to be. It is a bit of a shame the actual musical isn’t a bit better (it doesn’t help either that we recently had Were The World Mine – a big gay musical with absolutely amazing songs), but it’s bright and fun, and won’t make your eardrums bleed. And there’s certainly a lot of semi-clad guys to get gay pulses racing.
The special features include a fairly interesting audio commentary from director Casper Andreas (who’s a bit of a veteran of the indie gay movie scene), actor Daniel Robinson, the musical’s writer Fred M. Caruso and editor Alex Hammer. It’s surprisingly interesting, with the quartet discussing the genesis of the project and also the difficulties of making a film like this on a shoestring budget. There’s also a short but sweet ‘making of…’ featurette and an interview with the film’s director. It’s not a bad little selection and should keep you entertained for a while after the movie ends.
Overall Verdict: Although there’s only a couple of really good musical numbers, the rest of the film is pretty entertaining and it certainly lives up to the title.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac
(This review previously appeared on MovieMuser.co.uk)