Anyone who wasn’t born yesterday knows that every gay man doesn’t look like Montgomery Clift or Rock Hudson. Some look like Dom DeLuise, and they like to have dirty pig sex with other big, hairy men. They may look dangerous, but they’re really cute and cuddly inside, and as such they like to refer to themselves as “bears.” In the Spanish film Bear Cub, one such bear takes his nephew—a would-be bear cub according to his own mother—into his home for several weeks, but after the woman lands in jail somewhere near the Indian border, the arrangement becomes permanent and soon Pedro (José Luis García Pérez) is trying to win custody of the sensitive Bernardo (David Castillo) after the boy’s estranged grandmother, Doña Teresa (Empar Ferrer), enters the picture. Though not as shrill as you might expect for a story about two cultures trying to meet each other halfway (here, the venture is both literal and figurative), Bear Cub bears a striking and ultimately distracting resemblance to the equally randy, heartwarming, but overly tidy About a Boy, the story of a straight dude whose relationship with a young kid forces him to reexamine his life. Bear Cub‘s confrontational depiction of bear-on-bear sex is certainly brave, and though director Luis Miguel Albaladejo sets out to prove that Pedro can be a good father despite all the drugging and anonymous sex, there’s one too many agendas being waged here. A last-act contrivance fleshes out Pedro’s secretiveness, but unlike Hugh Grant’s About a Boy lothario, the man never really turns inward. Pérez is great in the lead role but he’s no match for the soapy Hallmark card ending that betrays his character in order to hawk a trite we-are-family message.
- TLA Releasing
- 100 min
- Luis Miguel Albaladejo
- Luis Miguel Albaladejo, Salvador García Ruiz
- José Luis García Pérez, David Castillo, Empar Ferrer, Elvira Lindo, Arno Chevrier, Mario Arias, Josele Román, Diana Cerezo, Daniel Lobregat
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