Judge Brett Cullum thinks the title is too obvious...aren't all musicals gay?
Sometimes being the person you're not, helps you learn to love the person you are!
Aspiring New York actors Paul (newcomer Daniel Robinson) and Eddie (newcomer Joey Dudding) have begun previews for a new Off-Broadway musical Adam and Steve Just the Way God Made 'Em. They are starring in a BIG GAY MUSICAL which basically rewrites the Bible and chronicles the struggles of the GLBT community as spoofy production numbers. As if that were not enough, their lives begin to strangely mirror the characters they are playing in uncomfortable ways. Paul is looking for the perfect man and Eddie is dealing with how his sexual identity and religious faith can mix. After yet another disastrous dating experience, Paul has an epiphany. He is done with romance, and just wants to be slutty like the sexy chorus boys that share his dressing room. Meanwhile Eddie has to tell his devout parents that he's gay and is starring in a show that calls the Bible the "Breeder's Informational Book of Living Examples." Eddie comes out to his family while Paul goes on the quick fix hookup site Manhunt. Eddie's parents are destroyed by the news, and Paul can't even have a single good one-night stand. But after musical numbers with scantly clad tap dancing angels in white briefs, a retelling of Genesis with some gay additions, zealous tele-evangelists, a Jesus camp that attempts to turn gay kids straight, and a whole bunch of show tunes, everyone realizes that life gets better once they accept who they really are. That means embracing the fact that they are very gay and love show tunes!
The Big Gay Musical starts off reminding me of a much less intelligent version of the Paul Rudnick stage production The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. That play already reinvented the Bible to be Adam and Steve in the garden of Eden. I was miffed to see Rudnick's basic idea put up on the screen so blatantly with bad musical numbers, but thankfully I learned that we would have the modern story of the actors integrated with the stage production bits. Thank goodness! The play these guys are putting on is campy, not very funny, and really quite distasteful in that it plays fast and loose with the Bible for apparently no good reason other than to be silly and irreverent. And the songs? They aren't Sondheim, Mary. The actors, singers, and dancers do what they can, but there's not much bite to the satire of the play in the movie.
The "real life" scenarios work a little better with Paul and Eddie struggling with two different ends of the spectrum of being gay. Paul is comfortable with who he is, but not quite happy with how his love life is going. He's jaded. Eddie is new to the lifestyle, and really struggling with how to reconcile his Christian upbringing with his sexual identity. He's rather lost. They face "homosexuality 101" problems including some clumsy approaches at more serious topics such as AIDS and self-loathing. Don't worry, nobody ever gets too deep to ruin the light tone setup by the musical. At least we get to see the guys act normal though, and the real world sequences allow for that.
Now there are quite a few problems with the songs. All the musical numbers are part of the fictitious play or are the characters performing open mic at the famous NYC piano bar The Duplex. Surprisingly, all the actors have great singing voices, but unfortunately they are often given shockingly banal material that borders on offensive. If it's in the "Adam and Steve" show it has a Jesus bent, and in the Duplex scenes it's all too stereotypical. Most of the numbers are out to bash religion and straight people. They really have a nasty, snide tone to them most of the time that never comes off well.
DVD Verdict was sent a promotional copy for The Big Gay Musical which means this review can only focus on the film itself without any looks at the final product. I have no idea how the transfer will ultimately look or what, if any, extras these guys are going to offer.
The Big Gay Musical just isn't big enough to be a spectacle, and the gay issues are too small and treated too lightly to be gay enough. I guess Small Limp-Wristed Musical wasn't a great title, but it seems more apt when we consider the material. Luckily, the actors have an infectious spirit that elevates their material to Sort of Amusing Lavender Musical Skit. I liked the cast, and think they could have handled a lot more than what was thrown their way both in material and musical numbers. The songs feel too forced and aim for campy but just hit groan-worthy most of the time. The dramatic stuff feels a little too basic. Aren't we past most of this already? There's nothing new here other than the idea of marrying the usual with show tunes. A Big Gay Musical should have better songs and more complex drama.
Guilty of playing to the obvious and the campy.
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