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By Phil Hall | July 28, 2006

The idea of a gay version of “American Pie” might not seem too tasty, but “Another Gay Movie” offers a fabulous surprise in not only matching that rude boy classic’s unapologetic rude humor but by establishing its own identity as a genuinely funny and often touching coming of age comedy. This is, hands down and fingers snapped, one of the best gay-oriented films to come around in ages.

It is summer and a quartet of graduates from San Torum High are in desperate need to lose their virginity. Each represents the stereotypical vision of movie youth: the buff yet dumb jock Jarod (Jonathan Chase), the brainy and bespectacled nerd Griff (Mitch Morris), the effeminate zany Nico (Jonah Blechman), and the seemingly normal all-American Andy (Michael Carbonaro). Actually, Andy is the proverbial still water running deep – his attempts at self-satisfaction involve elongated vegetables and pet gerbils, yet his pleasuring is inevitably interrupted by his always-flustered parents. He even does the “American Pie” one better by finding carnal comfort in a quiche (hey, it is a gay movie!).

The boys, egged on by their bull d**e pal Muffler (Ashlie Atkinson), seek out the men who will bring them out of boyhood. Needless to say, things don’t quite work out as planned. All extreme aspects of the gay orbit turn up – go-go boys, bondage masters, “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch (in a full-frontal appearance), meth addicted party animals, and even a pair of creepy guys from NAMBLA (who reject the teens for being past their prime).

“Another Gay Movie” has plenty of genuinely funny moments poking fun at the gay lifestyle. There’s a hirsute leather-clad baseball team called the Bad News Bears, references to gay icons of earlier generations (the clueless Jarod doesn’t know who Paul Lynde is and asks if he’s hot), and plenty of gay-friendly movie send-ups including “Mommie Dearest” (with drag performer Lypsinka, as Andy’s mother, trying to keep her composure at the sight of a wire hanger) and “Carrie” (with Griff, inexplicably in the Sissy Spacek role in a dream sequence). Gay stars including porn legend Matthew Rush and comedians Ant and Graham Norton make amusing cameo appearances.

And in keeping with the “American Pie” franchise, there’s plenty of crass humor involving bodily functions (enemas that work too efficiently, a penis pump that short circuits, etc.). Yes, it is puerile and obnoxious. But it is also hilarious and the jokes don’t wear out their welcome.

Yet “Another Gay Movie” is a genuinely sweet film, thanks in large part to its gifted cast. Filmmaker Todd Stephens wisely gives the characters a level of sincerity and humanity that is frequently lacking in teen films (straight or gay). So even while the four teens are making fools of themselves or getting stuck in bizarre situations with weird men, they are presented as vibrant characters and not broad caricatures.

“Another Gay Movie” will probably get stuck in the gay cinema circuit and not find widespread commercial distribution. That would be a major shame, since the film is wonderfully entertaining and could easily crossover to audiences who are open to a good laugh from a great film.

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