Saturday, June 11, 2016

VOD/DVDebut: Joey Kuhn's gay & heavily Madoff-themed love story, THOSE PEOPLE

A bunch of entitled white kids -- the center of which is the gay son of a Madoff-like do-badder -- flail around for 89 minutes, finding and losing love and other important things, in a movie that hits VOD and DVD this coming week and, despite its occasional fondness for melo-drama, manages to take us in and warm our crooked little hearts. Written and directed by Joey Kuhn, THOSE PEOPLE, thanks to its gifted cast and Mr. Kuhn's generally smart filmmaking, sucks us into Manhattan's sleazy, white-bread upper-crust (mostly gay variety) and allows us to observe and maybe even identify a bit.

Kuhn, pictured at left, tells the story of Sebastian (Jason Ralph, above and below, right), the son of a recently convicted and imprisoned Wall Street finagler, and his long-time best-friend, Charlie (Jonathan Gordon, above and below, left), who is also gay but not nearly as well-off. These two have long had a "thing" for each other but thanks to class difference, the closet, and a few other reasons, have managed to avoid hot sex.

One evening as they and their friends frequent a gay piano bar, Charlie connects haltingly with the piano player, a Middle-Eastern fellow (Haaz Sleiman, shown below and at bottom) who is clearly smitten with the kid.

Drama, sometime melo, ensues, as this threesome goes back and forth, back and forth, trying to come to terms with just who it is that Charlie really, truly loves.

Tagging along are the group's hangers-on, a nice bunch of kids (shown above and below, surrounding our heroes) just trying to keep up with the Joneses. The dialog is often smart and real, and the characterizations are well-drawn, by both the writer and the actors, even if a little too much exposition occasionally rears its head. Kuhn's generous use of Gilbert & Sullivan also adds a good deal of enjoyment to the proceedings.

Mostly, Kuhn avoid out-and-out melodrama, except toward the finale when the movie for one scene in particular, goes out of control. Happily, the filmmaker soon reins it in and the finale graces us with a quieter, gentler tone. "That was sweet," my spouse opined, as the end credits rolled, and I could not agree more.

Those People, after a very limited theatrical release from Wolfe Releasing, makes its VOD and DVD appearance via Wolfe Video this coming Tuesday, June 14 -- for rental or purchase.

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