Saturday, May 26, 2012

THE SKINNY (2012)

Written & Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk


Where & When: Laemmle's Music Hall, Beverly Hills, CA.  May 16, 2012  7:30PM


Patrik-Ian Polk, the writer/director who created the terrific, sassy comedy, "Punks" that followed the friendships of a group of gay African-Americans which lead to the groundbreaking television show, "Noah's Arc", the first weekly program to focus on gay African-American friends has returned with a new feature, "The Skinny". Mr. Polk has stuck with what he feels he does best as this romantic-comedy deals with yet another group of gay African-American friends who also struggle with life, sex and love but this version is no where near as successful as his previous accomplishments.

Magnus (Jussie Smollett), a sexy, young med student has been happily involved with his blue-collar boyfriend, Ryan (Dustin Ross) for five wonderful but very frustrating months as the couple has decided on waiting a total of six months before they become intimate. This is a way of making sure they know each other well before having sex.

Four college friends of Magnus have come to New York to party during the gay pride celebration; Langston (Shanika Warren-Markland), a lesbian medical student, the fun-loving, Joey (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), the sex-hungry Kyle (Anthony Burrell) and the sweet but naive Sebastian (Blake Young-Fountain) who has a crush on Kyle and plans on losing his virginity to him during this trip.

While cruising a hook-up site, Kyle discovers an ad inviting him to a sex party that looks suspiciously like Ryan. Crushed by this news, Magnus insists on going to this party to catch his man in the act. Once there, he can't go inside so Kyle volunteers but manages to get too distracted to find Ryan. Magnus finally goes in to witness for himself which puts an end to their relationship.

The gang decide to attend the pride celebration with the hope of cheering up the heartbroken, Magnus. Instead, everyone focuses on themselves with Langston and Joey lusting after the hot bartender and the equally hot stripper, respectively but both are somehow too nervous to approach them. Kyle and Sebastian become close hanging out together but later while drinking in a club, Sebastian insists on trying the drug, ecstacy with Kyle. Tragedy befalls the drugged-out Sebastian after he is separated from Kyle when two men lure him back to their place to take advantage of him.

I really wanted to like "The Skinny" as I am a fan of Mr. Polk's previous work but due to a preposterous plot and lazy, inane dialogue, this film is one unbearable slog. There are plenty of cringe-worthy scenes but the highlight has to be the step-by-step instruction on how to properly administer an enema but I guess we should be grateful we didn't receive a visual demonstration. The major problem is that this film wants to be a raunchy sex comedy while also attempting to be a PSA lecture warning about the dangers of drugs and the consequences of promiscuity with both ideas fighting each other and ending up muddled. This makes "The Skinny" about as erotic and exciting as a text book.

The performers work hard but even with the brief appearances of Darryl Stephens (the sexy lead of "Noah's Arc") and Wilson Cruz as medical technicians who give detailed advice on what you can do if you could have been exposed to HIV,  no one is able to help save this dreary comedy.

"The Skinny" wants to provide thoughtful humor and useful information regarding sexual relationships but the film is not well thought out enough to do this which leads to nothing more than a melodramatic mess.