Monday, August 7, 2017

KEPT BOY: George Bamber's very bizarre and quaintly old-fashioned gay fairy tale

What to make of KEPT BOY? I'm still scratching my head over this one. Not that I didn't understand the (awfully manipulative, contrived and all-too-convenient) plot machinations. Yet, though these are set quite firmly in the present day, the story itself -- movie-wise, at least -- seems like a throwback to an earlier, more innocent time when audiences might have been able to buy into fairy tales, handsome princes, and love conquers all. Except that, in this case, the plot revolves around the "kept boy" of the title, his older and uber-successful lover, and the new and very hunky young man who has arrived to presumably take our hero's place.

As written by David Ozanich and directed by George Bamber (the latter, shown at left, gave us back in 2005 the somewhat better movie, The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green), Kept Boy almost immediately asks the question, where's the boy? The "kept" fellow of the title looks to be approaching 40, even if in other ways he seems to still be stuck in adolescence. Simply put, he's an asshole, and unfortunately, he 's the kind of asshole that this movie never really allows you to warm up to. His character, Dennis, is such an noxious combination of entitlement and stupidity, it's no wonder his "keeper" (as well as many of the other characters) keeps him at arm's length for most of the film.

When, one fine day, that keeper (the classy, sexy and relatively commanding Thure Riefenstein, above), tells our hero to go out and get a job, Dennis (played by Jon Paul Phillips, below) -- once he gets over his initial shock -- tries to do just that. But with little success.

When the new "pool boy" Jasper (the interesting Greg Audino) shows up, things appear to go from bad to worse, except that who wants what -- and why -- is apparently and continually up for grabs. For awhile the sheer shock of seeing such an old-fashioned rags-to-riches-to-rags tale may carry you along, but eventually a kind of reality sets in.

This is, as it turns out, neither satire nor soap opera, drama nor even melodrama, feel-good nor feel-bad, comedy nor tragedy. Instead it's a very wobbly combo of all of the above. Some of the sets and cinematography (above and below), however, are certainly good looking, as are a few of the actors on hand.

Consequently, the incidental pleasures of Kept Boy may be enough to keep you going. If so, the movie arrives on DVD and VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, August 8, from Breaking Glass Pictures. Your move.... 

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