Queer as Film

No movie playing at Q Cinema, Fort Worth's annual gay and lesbian film festival, is more emblematic of the state of homo social evolution than opening night's All Over the Guy. Writer Dan Bucatinsky and director Julie Davis' comedy shows how two budding romances--one gay, one straight--are intertwined and aggravated by friendship. If The Broken Hearts Club suffered from the gay-ghetto claustrophobia it was trying to mildly critique, All Over the Guy succeeds--however imperfectly--in depicting a contemporary urban world where relationships are assessed less by gender than personality differences. Bucatinsky plays Eli, the over-analytical child of psychiatrist parents who's tossed into a premature relationship with Tom (Richard Ruccolo), a commitment-phobic alcoholic, by his hetero best friend Brett (Adam Goldberg), who has his eye on Tom's closest confidante Jackie (Sasha Alexander).

In adapting All Over the Guy from his stage play, Bucatinsky changed the primary romance from male-female to male-male, and, as executive producer, his gay pal Don Roos convinced marquee-name friends and Opposite of Sex co-stars Christina Ricci and Lisa Kudrow to put in appearances. The film has some great dialogue, and the lead foursome is appealing--but Bucatinsky and Ruccolo are more convincing as fighters than as lovers. They lack the chemistry together that, say, Bucatinsky and Goldberg have playing best friends. Without a discernable undercurrent of desire to alleviate their constant bickering, you wind up hoping Eli and Tom don't get together at the end--Tom, in particular, will be hitting the bottle again before a year's up.

For a bit of old-fashioned, glam-gay angst, you'll want to hit Q Cinema's much-anticipated closer, the big-screen adaptation of John Cameron Mitchell's Off-Broadway smash Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Writer-director Mitchell stars as the East Berlin would-be rock star whose botched sex change lands him in a Kansas trailer park, preparing for a comeback that will be--ahem--snatched away by a young protégé. Hedwig earned raves when it debuted at this year's Sundance.

Other Q Cinema highlights include French-Canadian director Lea Pool's first English-language film Lost and Delirious, about a romance between two teen-age girls and its consequences at a ritzy boarding school; Drama Queen, Dallas director Kelli Herd's concert film featuring iconic lesbian stand-up comic Georgia Ragsdale, a comedian known for throwing her soul and body into the act; Scouts Honor, the PBS documentary about Scouting For All, the activist group formed by two heterosexuals in Petaluma, California, to help change the Boy Scouts' homophobic policies; and Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau's The Adventures of Felix, a gentle French-language comedy about a young gay man who hitchhikes through the south of France to find his father.

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Jimmy Fowler