By Kenny Herzog | November 28, 2005

“Boy Next Door,” which was shown at the HBO/Aspen Comedy Festival, among others, stands out from your average DIY short film for two reasons: a recognizable acting presence (albeit, Richard Moll, aka Bull from “Night Court,” isn’t exactly Marlon Brando), and it’s executive produced by Cale Boyter, who has also exec-produced real-deal Hollywood comedies like “Elf” and “Wedding Crashers.” And for the most part, director/producer/star Travis Davis (isn’t a guy with a name like that begging for fame? At least in porn?) is a bona fide potential talent.

In “Boy-Next-Door,” Davis plays Calvin, your typical schmo who lives in a tiny apartment, has no job or girlfriend, and is so accustomed to rejection, it hardly phases him when even his therapist severs their relationship. In comes Moll as his new neighbor Tim, a hip middle-aged guy with blonde highlights, video games and Laker tickets, all at Calvin’s disposal should he want it. Finally thinking he’s found a pal, Calvin is horrified to learn Tim is actually a convicted sodomizer, and tends to go for the, you guessed it, “boy next door” type. Except when Tim backs out of their Laker game to go with someone else, rather than feel relief, Calvin is enraged, feeling rejected even by a molester who usually preys on men just like him.

Right off the bat, the film has a clever concept going for it, and with the exception of some tiresome sitcom-y moments (the old “you thought I said one thing, but I’m gonna reiterate it slightly differently so you don’t catch on to what I’m really thinking” routine), is genuinely funny. Davis himself doesn’t have the most deft comedic timing, but Moll plays his part like an old pro, turning Tim into a sympathetic character by the end, a former convict trying to make good who’s in fact being victimized by Calvin’s insecurities and neuroses.

Oh, and stick around for the closing credits, as they provide some of the funniest, albeit dialogue-free (and old-man-a*s full) moments involving Tim’s character and a soon-to-be young-male conquest.

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