Review: Coffee Date

Coffee Date is further confirmation that gay men in Los Angeles have way too much money to throw around.

Coffee Date
Photo: Film & Music Entertainment, Inc.

Queer cinema in this country is suffering and Coffee Date is further confirmation that gay men in Los Angeles have way too much money to throw around. Instead of saving the world, filmmakers like Stewart Wade are dooming us to artless movies about contemporary gay culture that are not only irrelevant but whose only artistic point of reference is Will and Grace. The trouble here is that Wade, unlike Todd Haynes and Gregg Araki, has a passion for movies that only goes back as far as the last Woody Allen movie. When Todd (Jonathan Bray), an alleged straight guy, is tricked into meeting Kelly (Wilson Cruz), the owner of a local hair salon, at a coffee shop where every cup of Java comes with shavings of attitude, the pair bonds over Milos Forman (Amadeus and The People vs. Larry Flynt, not anything from the director’s Czech period). Later, Kelly will invite Todd to see some “German film that made a splash at Sundance” and Todd will invite Kelly to see—get this—a Bergman double bill. (A Bergman double bill in West Hollywood in 2006?) Soon everyone is confusing Todd for a gay man, but why won’t anyone listen to him when he tries to convince them otherwise? I mean, it’s not like Todd ever puts his dick inside Kelly. (Oh, wait…) Aspiring to an Eating Out provocation about the sexual politics between gay and straight men, Coffee Date plays by the rules of engagement set up by shrill films like The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green, right down to the appearance of a C-list actress in the role of Mom. Gay Boy Meets Straight Boy, People Think Straight Boy Is Gay, Straight Boy Is Gay Bashed, Straight Boy Fucks Gay Boy, Gay Boy’s Feelings Are Hurt, Debbie Gibson (Sorry, Deborah Gibson) Sings A Song, Cineastes Go Mad.

 Cast: Jonathan Bray, Wilson Cruz, Jonathan Silverman, Sally Kirkland, Deborah Gibson, Jason Stuart, Elaine Hendrix, Leigh Taylor-Young  Director: Stewart Wade  Screenwriter: Stewart Wade  Distributor: Film & Music Entertainment, Inc.  Running Time: 94 min  Rating: NR  Year: 2006  Buy: Video

Ed Gonzalez

Ed Gonzalez is the co-founder of Slant Magazine. His writing has also appeared in The Village Voice and The Los Angeles Times. He’s a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, the Critics Choice Association, and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.

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