Director: Ringo Le
Running Time: 86 mins
Release Date: December 8th 2014
What would Willow think? Xander from Buffy has gone gay (he likes to call himself Nicholas Brendon, but he’ll always be Xander to me, whether he likes it or not).
Here he’s teamed with Jonathan Lisecki, who’s best known as the writer, director and co-star of Gayby. Lisecki takes on the lead role of party planner Bob, who’s looking for his big gay love, especially as everyone he knows seems to be in a relationship. However his insecurities make things difficult, so that he initially can’t see why hunky chef Andy (Brendan) would be interested in him, and even after they start dating he seems sure the fact he’s a bit overweight will inevitably ruin things.
While Bob considers going under the knife to get a better physique, as well as dealing with the fact one of his best friends may be dating a closet-case, his lack of confidence begins to threaten his relationship, with the result that it’s his own fears that may be the biggest obstacle to achieving the happiness he’s looking for.
Making a movie about the effects that the gay obsession with youth and physique can have on people is a great idea, but Big Gay Love is only partially successful on that score. The issue is with the characterisation of Bob, who often comes across as a non-stop pity party surrounded by enablers whose existence is driven by validating his self-loathing. While the movie is about Bob realising that he is his own biggest problem, too often he comes across as tedious and dim.
The irony is that the film ostensibly seems to want to say that the narcissism of gay culture leaves those who don’t fit the mould feeling left out and uncertain of their place (especially as you’re not taught how to be gay when you’re young), but it does it through a character who’s actually more self-obsessed and egocentric than the hunky, pretty boys it seems to think are the problem.
To be honest there may be some truth in it (I have known a few people who’ve enjoyed blaming gay culture for certain thing rather than taking responsibility for their own actions and admitting that they were assholes), but Big Gay Love tends to treat Bob as being the victim of the world around him, rather than a culpable part of it, and as a result he becomes rather annoying and in need of a good metaphorical slap. Big Gay Love suggests he’s someone everyone likes but no one desires, yet it provides relatively few reasons why anyone would like him, unless you’re into people who are in constant need of ego stroking and have a meltdown at the tiniest little emotional pinprick.
Jonathan Lisecki does his best, the film has a few genuinely funny moments and you can tell that it wants to take on issues with gay culture and be a sweet romantic comedy at the same time. Nicholas Brendan also does a great job in a role that could easily have come across as a cipher, but which he brings depth and humanity to. However they’re both fighting against a script that’s so single-minded in what it wants to do, that it becomes as myopic as the main character. The film has its moments and it can be kinda sweet, but you do need to overlook a lot of annoyances to really enjoy it.
Overall Verdict: Big Gay Love’s point that the tubby and unfit don’t seem to fit into what gay culture perceives as desirable is valid, but in looking at it through the eyes of someone so needy and self-obsessed, you’re more likely to end up thinking that gay culture has a point if Bob is supposed to be typical of those not in the homo in-crowd.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac
I agree with your thoughts on how Bob seemed to be pretty self-absorbed. I interpreted it much like internalized homophobia though in that he was internalizing the community’s self-obsession with appearance. He does go a bit far though in outwardly expressing his jealousy and insecurities…