Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Home video release for Eisha Marjara's transgender parenting rom-com, VENUS

The sudden announcement to a movie character -- generally a rom-com hero -- that he has an offspring he never knew existed is not exactly a new or novel plot device. When that character is a male in the midst of transgendering to a female, however, this probably constitutes the breaking of some new ground. So it is in the Canadian movie VENUS, which arrives via writer/director Eisha Marjara, shown below.

The first question you're likely to be confronted with by the film is this: Can a movie be simultaneously pretty enjoyable yet not very good? 

Venus answers this in a mostly positive vein. It's glossy, almost totally unbelievable, yet well-acted enough to just about slide by your (probably) many objections. This is due in large part of the performance of the young actor Jamie Mayers (below), who plays Ralph, the 14-year-old boy who has only just discovered his birth-parent dad.

As written, this character is not only too good to be true, but to be believed, as well. Yet Mr. Mayers is so charming, full of life and good will, that he manages to seduce you into coming along on this somewhat bumpy ride.

The young performer uses his wide-eyed face, adept body and high spirits to charm the viewer as much as he does the film's other characters,

who include his dad (the oddly cast actor, Debargo Sanyal, above and below, proves not particularly convincing),

his grandparents (the much better Gordon Warnecke and Zena Darawalla, below, left and right respectively),

and dad's lover (the very hot Pierre-Yves Cardinal , shown below, left). In fact, the two characters who seems least likely to fall for Ralph's charms are his mom (Amber Goldfarb, in the penultimate photo below) and his stepdad. This makes some sense, as these two are the ones who must deal with the kid, day in and day out.

The movie is both lively and bouncy, as it skirts along the surface of just about every thing and every theme it touches. Its refusal to go any deeper than the minimum requirements of GLBT rom-and-dram-coms, is best shown at the point at which Ralph's dad says to his son, "I think we need to have a talk." And then, instead of letting us see and hear that very important talk, the filmmaker simply cuts to some time afterward, depriving us of a scene in which both character and situation might have deepened.

But depth is certainly not what Ms Marjara is going for. Instead, we get the usual -- which is, as usual, nicely entertaining and often quite well-acted. If you'll settle for that, you will probably have an enjoyable time with Venus.

From Wolfe Video, the movie -- in English and running 95 minutes -- hits the street on DVD and VOD this coming Tuesday, September 4, for purchase and (I would hope) rental.

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