WERE THE WORLD MINE (DVD) Image

Tom Gustafson’s low budget, low energy musical comedy finds Timothy (newcomer Tanner Cohen), a beleaguered prep school senior, being harassed for being openly gay. His fortunes change when he is cast as Puck in a school production of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” and a very careful reading of his lines provides him with a magical formula to turn his former enemies (plus an elusive, hunky straight rugby player) gay.

Needless to say, Timothy’s new gay world creates consternation for the heterosexual community, while Timothy finds himself in heated pursuit by a hitherto straight buddy who is accidentally sprinkled with the formula. While the walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes formula could easily offer an amusing lesson in tolerance, Gustafson creates a painfully obvious and often ridiculous fantasy that traffics in the stereotypes of gay men as overtly promiscuous and emotionally immature.

Even worse are the film’s musical numbers, which are painfully clumsy in their concept (most egregious is the scene where the rugby squad is turned into pirouette-happy ballet dancers). And Timothy’s fantasy number with his rugby dreamboat, complete with pelvic-thrusting go-go boys, gives camp a bad name.

There is also a thudding subplot with Timothy’s divorced mother trying too hard to fit into a new job as a door-to-door make-up saleswoman. Needless to say, no one told this broad she’s living in 2009.

Cohen is an appealing young lead with a fine singing voice, but he lacks the charisma to carry this enervated mess and he often gives the impression of being embarrassed by the circumstances swirling around him. What could have been a charming and original endeavor becomes tacky and silly. What fools these mortals be!

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