TLA Releasing // 2007 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 19th, 2008
The bears take on the stylish in Spain!
Boystown (proper Spanish title Chuecatown) is a dark comedy about the class struggle within the gay community taken to the absurd level. Almost every big city has one district that homosexual men gravitate to, and they set up elaborate homes and gentrify an otherwise unfabulous area. They want to make it pretty, guss it up a little bit. In Madrid the gayborhood is called Chuecatown, and thus the title and setting of this Spanish import. The focus of this story is on the internal struggle of the politics of such an area filtered through an ironic black comedy that mixes American Psycho with La Cage Aux Folles. The film takes the idea of the tyranny of a GLBT community to an extreme, showing us a murder case where an uppity effete real estate agent (Pablo Puyol, Clandestinos) is killing the people who don't belong in his vision of a homosexual haven. Most of the time we see him knocking off older women who won't sell their apartments to him, but we find out his plan goes further. We meet Rey (Carlos Fuentes) and Leo (Pepon Nieto), two bears who have set up their own cave in the area. To make matters worse, Rey's acerbic mother (Concha Velasco, La Hora bruja) decides to move in once Rey inherits one of the widows' places in his building. The evil real estate agent has to hatch a plan to get rid of all three of these outcasts before they blight all of his hard work. Unfortunately for him, a mother (Rosa Maria Sarda, Todo sobre mi madr) and son (Eduard Soto, Pactar amb el gat) detective team are on the case.
Boystown is a fun ride full of gruesome murders mixed with likable characters you honestly root for. The bear couple and the harpy mom are cute and wonderful, and them being terrified by the real estate agent makes you root for all of them. The murders make everyone confront the demons of their relationships. Even more amusing is the mother and son team assigned to the case who also have to come face to face with their own identities and attachment to each other. Too bad all these revelations come with a body count, but what can you do? The source material is a comic strip, and the whole thing comes off like a Pedro Almodovar project. TV director Juan Flahn guides his cast through the comedic horror farce quite well with a bright production design to match. There are some laugh-out-loud moments mixed with some truly bizarre exchanges, and enough real human emotion to carry it all across the finish line. This is a fun import, and I 'm glad to see it out there.
TLA Releasing doesn't do much more than give us a pretty solid transfer with only the black levels seeming off in the dark sequences. Colors pop appropriately without being garish. A stereo Spanish track allows the dialogue to be front and center. English subtitles are provided, although some seem to have typos or incorrect translations when the characters make a Western reference. For extras we get nine photos from the production and some trailers. It's nice to see this one get a domestic release, and kudos to TLA for distributing it for US audiences who should find it a hoot.
Boystown features a solid cast gamely plowing their way through a black comedy about the bears taking on the twinks in the gayest neighborhood of Madrid. What makes the whole thing work is the characters are so damn lovable. There's the bear who seduces his lover by putting on Wolverine claws, the mom who compares someone's ass to a Japanese flag, and the mother-son detective team who find themselves identifying all too well with the gay neighborhood and its residents. In the end, it's the perfect homo who is the most evil, and I guess that is the moral ultimately. Never trust a man who seems far too good to believe, he's certainly hiding something under that gym body swathed in Armani. Boystown is a feature that has a lot to say about living in the pink zone of a major city.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: TLA Releasing
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Production Stills