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With: Adam Gavzer, Robert Hampton, Tom McCann, Jud Parker, Alberto Rosas, Zeke Wheeler, Andrew Ableson
Written by: Brian Shepp
Directed by: Brian Shepp
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 103
Date: 12/14/1999

Gypsy Boys (1999)

1 Star (out of 4)

Wandering Off

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Let's face it.Some filmmakers play the game for the money. That has to be the reason.Otherwise, films wouldn't be marketed to specific corners. The recent TheDebut was marketed towards Filipinos and The Brothers towardAfrican-Americans. I have no trouble with films that do that. I wish there weremore of them. But when the filmmaker simply tosses together a cookie-cutter movieand puts Filipinos and African Americans in it, it's lazy and discourteous to allof us. And these audiences, starved to see their own images on screen, flock tothe movies no matter how bad.

Now we have yet another movie from this trash heap, Brian Shepp's Gypsy Boys, a low-budget San Francisco gay love story. It begins with maybe eight or nine characters, who all sound the same when they talk, going out to a Castro Street dance club. We spend about a half an hour of running time in the club, watching them standing around and saying inane things (nobody really dances). Shepp directs the actors as if in a play. They trade lines back and forth with well-rehearsed precision and rhythm, and it's like listening to a metronome. It does not sound the slightest bit authentic. It sounds like the kind of elevator chit-chat that makes you want to run screaming from the planet.

In any case, this distressingly boring dance club scene was meant to introduce us to the characters, and it fails horribly. Saturday morning, these same characters rise out of bed, hung over, some with lovers, some alone, and we have no idea who they are. It doesn't help that none of the actors have much in the way of charisma. Some of them are good-looking, but they're not particularly memorable.

I wish I could remember something about the plot, but I just can't. I think I was picking some gum off my seat. One guy gets ready to move to England with his lover. Another is an older guy who's tired of the club scene and hooked up with a young lover who's really into it. I remember two guys riding bikes, but I'm not sure who they were.

Admittedly, these daytime scenes with the characters paired off play far more effectively than the phony club talk. Some of the scenes come quietly alive in spite of themselves.

Anyway, all these nobodies gather together again on Saturday night for a house party. It struck me as odd that nobody knew anybody else the previous night at the club, and now they're all friends and invited to the same house party. More innocuous talk follows.

When it ends, a couple of the characters end up with their dream guys and others end up alone. It didn't feel like much of an ending. Maybe if some of the characters had jobs or mothers or passions or favorite foods, or something that would distinguish them, I could have kept from dozing off. But these Gypsy Boys were all just pale versions of one another, and I couldn't care less.

Best Buy Co, Inc.