Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Geography Club

Half a dozen years ago, Lifetime ran a reality show called "Gay, Straight or Taken?" in which a bachelorette spent a day with three men and had to determine who was gay, who was straight and available, and who already had a girlfriend.

Ratings aside, they pretty much pulled the plug on the show after some smart ladies took the guys to a basketball court and it became obvious within seconds who was gay. I was reminded of GSoT while watching the new film "Geography Club," a gay-themed high-school movie by filmmakers who clearly have no conception of how sports work.

Sweet, well-adjusted Russell (Cameron Deane Stewart) realizes he's gay and arranges online to meet a guy at the park. While he's waiting, Kevin (Justin Deeley), the quarterback of the football team, walks over and chats him up. They become friends and, one night on a school retreat, share a rain-soaked moonlight kiss. (Not for this movie any actual gay sex.) They're caught by Min (Ally Maki), a classmate who leaves notes in their lockers the next week asking them to come to Room 327 for a meeting of the "geography club." The club - cleverly named so as not to attract attention or interest from anyone - is actually a support group for LGBT students (though the stereotypical queen and bulldyke in attendance don't seem to need any buffering). Its faculty sponsor, Mrs. Toles, is a role so thin, Ana Gasteyer obviously owed someone a favor but warned them not to keep her on set for long. Basically, she tells the kids she's leaving the club in their hands: "Own it." Later, gator!

Just about everything in the movie rings false. There's Russell's horny best friend, Gunnar (Andrew Caldwell), who wants Russell and hot-to-trot Kimberly (Allie Gonino) to double date with him and too-hot-for-him Trish (Meaghan Martin). I didn't buy Russell's friendship with this overgrown frat type, but the sports stuff is less credible. First, Kevin summarily announces that he got Russell a spot on the football team (!), then Russell makes the key play in the big game (of course), then, after Kimberly posts "Russell is a homo" flyers all around, his teammates tell Russell he's back off the team. "Geography Club" plays like an afterschool special, choking on its own good intentions. The only aspect I appreciated was the lack of a storybook ending and the script's ultimate truthfulness to Kevin.

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