True Liza

Not for the first time, Minnelli makes a comeback.

By Leo Charney
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 22, 2006

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Dorian Blues

What do you look for in a gay coming-of-age movie? This sweet but tame festival favorite checks off most of the boxes. Conflict with uptight dad? Check. Reconciliation with mom too weak to stand up to uptight dad? Check. Tortured first romance? Check. Liberating move from small town to big city? Check.

But Dorian Blues lacks the power of sex-especially compared to gay coming-of-age classics like Edge of Seventeen and The Delta, which combined sensitive life lessons with hot sex lessons. Here all the sexuality occurs offstage, and the hero hooks up only with creepy, fairly repulsive guys. The wan sensuality reflects a wan storyline and a wan hero.

Avowedly straight writer/director Tennyson Bardwell has a whole back-story about his college buddy who died of AIDS. Here he rewrites that relationship as a tale of two brothers: introverted Dorian, who figures out he's gay before his freshman year at NYU; and his straight, cute, popular jock brother Nicky, who supports little bro against their homophobic dad and then gets his football buds to beat up some of Dorian's nasty friends in a gay bar.

The brothers' relationship is powerfully drawn, but Dorian's too blah to hold center stage. More memorable are his parents: Mom rolls pennies and makes shopping lists instead of defending her kids, and Dad's homophobia reflects his my-way-or-the-highway attitude. These aren't blindingly original characters, but they're written and acted with a specificity that makes them come alive. That's more than you can say for Dorian, who feels interchangeable with bland young guys in a hundred other movies-or WB shows. B-

Includes: Deleted scenes, trailer.

You'll Like It If You Like: Gay coming-of-age movies, films about family conflict.

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