ATN's Roy Zemlicka reports: So I went and saw Jeffrey, at an AIDS
benefit showing of the movie nonetheless. I liked it. But guess what, it's a
gay film; unrepentantly
so. We're talking capital-Q, small-u, double-e, little-r; as in it starts
with two men in bed together gasp. Okay, so maybe you already knew
that Jeffrey was about gay men, but did you know that it also
desperately wants to be a mainstream movie. Mainstream in the sense that
I could say, "Patrick Stewart was delightfully over-the-top in his
portrayal of a gay interior decorator," except for the fact that even the
thought of the word "delightfully" sends me hiding in bed with the covers
pulled over my head worrying that someday I'm going to own French
poodles that I force to wear designer sweaters.
In the movie, good-looking Jeffrey (Steven Weber) decides to give up sex in
the age of AIDS and of course is instantly hit upon by gorgeous Steve
(Michael T. Weiss). In a quandary Jeffrey talks to his attractive friends
while they shop and eat at up-scale restaurants. Life is hard. There is also
some stuff about post-modern televangelists, Mother Theresa, compulsive
sex disorder, oh yeah ,and gay bashing. But that is all superfluous to the
Thankfully the movie did not try to hide its theatrical roots, and
Jeffrey left the audience with the sense of having watched a play.
There is something about an audience coming together when watching a
movie that can elevate it from simple entertainment to an experience. I
remember opening night of Thelma & Louisewhere it felt like the
entire theatre was holding its breath for two hours.
My one complaint is that if Jeffrey is a mainstream movie, it should
have a little mainstream production quality. In general the production was
excellent except for one scene; Darius' (Bryan Batt) big dramatic scene;
where the boom mike was horribly apparent. I mean really, movie studios
can spend millions of dollars to give Tom Hanks a bad haircut and let him
shake hands with dead Presidents but can't spread a little computer
wealth and edit out a microphone. It isn't the production quality that
makes Jeffrey worthwhile, it is the comedy and the content.
However, I am a little worried about how well-received Jeffrey
will be. The queer community at the benefit seemed more than willing to
accept it, but I wonder about straight-laced middle-Americana. I hope it
does, because Jeffrey was definitely worth the price of admission.
Seeing big name stars having a blast playing outrageous characters was
worth the price itself, but luckily that wasn't all that Jeffrey had
Steven Weber does much to overcome his Wings past and plays
Jeffrey as wonderfully neurotic. His Jeffrey is not truly insensitive, but
rather frightened of life, of living, of the fact that there is no longer
for the future. It is easy to sympathize with his fears. Of course one does
wonder what it would have been like to have an openly gay character play
the lead role. It worked in Priscilla; wait, they were all straight.
Philadelphia. Straight. Hmmmmm...
Jeffrey is a fun, light-hearted comedy about AIDS. It has its serious
moments but never lets them fully get in the way of the comedy. Take it
for what it's worth.