Shelter (R)

Drama 88 March 28, 2008
By Ed Gonzalez
Shelter bides its time with innocuous snapshots of local SoCal color—crashing waves, crystal blue skies, natives who pronounce the “r” in Louvre—before writer-director Jonah Markowitz allows Zach (Trevor Wright), a full-time burger-flipper and nanny to his nephew, to get his queer on. Following much surfer-dude posturing predicated on cautious pronoun use and double meanings (“We picked a good time to come out,” Zach says in reference to the day’s waves), the young cutie shares a drunken kiss with his best bud’s older brother, Shaun (Brad Rowe), after which he makes a beeline for the beach in a restless attempt to surf the gay away. Rowe, no stranger to playing queerbait, patiently stands by until Wright’s Zach gets his yes-no mood swings—informed as much by real life as by after-school specials and gay-male fantasy—out of his system. Their chemistry is solid, but the inane pop-rock music that fills the soundtrack is rougher trade than any of their sex scenes—or, for that matter, their characters’ oft-mentioned class difference, which is never milked for any great epiphany. As far as coming-out dramas go, Shelter is a puppy dog, well-acted but rife with cliché received wisdom and at least one ingeniously arbitrary bit of mid-scene dialogue: “That’s why you never tell a woman how to cook a chicken.”
Jonah Markowitz Trevor Wright, Ross Thomas, Tina Holmes, Brad Rowe, Katie Walder, Matt Bushell, Christina Blevins, Alicia Sixtos, C-Sharp, Sybil Martinez Jonah Markowitz J.D. Disalvatore Regent Releasing

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