A couple of years ago, Dan Ireland made his directorial debut with a stunning little gem called “The Whole Wide World” that starred Vincent D’Onofrio as doomed novelist, Robert E. Howard. Ireland re-teams with the actor for his sophomore effort in this adaptation of the hit off-Broadway play to mixed results. I guess you can take the play out of the theatre but you can’t always take the theatricality out of the play.
Thomas Jane stars as Gary (NOT his real name, we are constantly reminded), a street hustler in New York City who a few year before had been ejected from his family somewhere in the country. He soon catches the eye of bisexual porn star Valentino (D’Onofrio). Valentino already has a girlfriend, Mary Carmen (an overly shrill Salma Hayek), so the two immediately compete for the actor’s affections, though he seems to love them equally. Valentino soon succumbs to the big “A”, so the pair must learn to get along as they have no one else. The film might have worked if it was half as lurid or clever as it seems to think it is, but suffers from some severe “diva”-esque show-stopping moments and goofy personality quirks. When a female impersonator is asked how he/she lost her hearing, she replies, “from all the applause.” Another big problem is Hayek’s character; very noticeably and very vocally unlikable for the majority of the film. These problems obscure the basic themes of the film, which reveal the only way out of the darkness can sometimes be to shine your light onto someone else. Valentino gave all his love to these outcasts, so they’ve got to find a place for it after he’s gone. Until they figure that one out, they’ve got to learn than life always goes better with DRAG queens, not DRAMA queens.