A colleague likens Eleven Men Out to a bar joke: “Did you hear the one about the gay Icelandic soccer team?” Except this joke doesn’t have a punchline, or a sensible delivery for that matter. Róbert I. Douglas’s film is nothing but a hole-punched patchwork of clichés culled from so many shrill underdog sports comedies and “coming out” stinkers, from The Full Monty to The Iron Ladies. It’s almost tempting to reward Douglas for his lack of dilly-dallying—mere minutes into the film, Óttar Thor (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson), star of an alpha-male Icelandic soccer team, reveals to a reporter that he’s gay, kick-starting the schematic plot—but what have we done to deserve this? There’s no sense of how long the hunky Óttar has known about his sexuality or what sparked this impromptu bravery, but from the zeal with which he joins a mostly-gay soccer team and woos one of its players, it’s obvious he’s never had a dick in his mouth. There’s at least a half dozen movies fighting for attention here, none of them particularly appealing: Óttar’s father and brother going through it’s-only-a-phase motions; his (possibly ex-) wife, a former Miss Iceland, coping with a booze problem; his son being a typical teenager (he walks in on his father fucking his boyfriend—because being gay means never having to lock your bedroom door); his boyfriend leaving him after one too many forced movie-themed dinners (who can blame him given that Óttar asks for head like a sexy he-beast but romances his boy toy—with red wine and to Titanic Movie Nights—like a desperate housewife); the soccer league officials trying to figure out how their homophobia will fly; and Óttar deciding if he wants to don the clothes of a gay right’s activist (he doesn’t want to organize freedom—how un-Scandanavian of him!). Each story comes on abruptly—it’s as if they were going on and off with the flip of a light switch—and emotions are conveyed with all the range of a missed SOS signal. Douglas isn’t going for cheap thrills here (the film is like the anti-Queer as Folk), but what does it say about the filmmaker that Eleven Men Out is so unappealing in spite of Heraldsson’s good looks and all the locker-room sausage displays? Perhaps I’m missing something here because I don’t have the letters b, j, ö, r, and k in my name, but Douglas’s zombified feel-good comedy can’t be good for Iceland’s travel industry, let alone its people, if it’s at all true-to-life.
- Regent Releasing
- 90 min
- Róbert I. Douglas
- Róbert I. Douglas, Jón Atli Jónason
- Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Helgi Björnsson, Arnaldur Ernst, Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir, Sigurður Skúlason, Björk Jakobsdóttir, Þorsteinn Bachmann, Pattra Sriyanonge, Lilja Guðrún Jónsdóttir, Hilmar Jónsson, Felix Bergsson, Nanna Ósk Jónsdóttir, Stefán Jónsson, Pétur Einarsson, Elli Jóhannesson, Damon Younger, Erlendur Eiríksson, Valdimar Flygering, Maríus Sverrisson, Víðir Guðmundsson
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