Where Todd Solandz walks and oftentimes crosses that fine line between provocation and exploitation, director Michael Cuesta rapes that line. L.I.E. plays out like an anti-Megan’s Law diatribe, one that suggests that a pederast could actually have something useful contribute to society. Insecure Howie (Paul Franklin Dano) is in severe abandonment mode after his mother is killed in a car accident on the Long Island Expressway. Hellbent on upping the Larry Clark ante, Cuesta waxes poetic on prepubescent homo-lust though the effect is considerably more rank and sentimental than you’d expect. When Howie’s best bud Gary (Billy Kay) runs away and his Dad (Bruce Altman) gets arrested by the F.B.I., he seeks refuge in the arms of the town boy-magnet, an ex-marine named Big John Harrigan (Brian Cox). Not only does the old colt offer young boys his eager tongue, the boys welcome his advances with cunning, ball-busting gusto. Everyone from the high school’s principal to the town’s police officers accepts the loveable Big John. A missing gun and a few unhinged metaphors will more or less clue you in as to the fate of one of the film’s characters. Though remarkably performed, L.I.E. is a shameless and pointless provocation. If Chester the Molester from Cuesta’s childhood ever had a story then this is it. Big John’s home is more like a halfway house for lonely, fatherless boys in need of a little tender loving care. Cox’s scruffy Mother Goose will ask you for your measurements (yes, Big John is a size queen!) after showing you how to shave those loose hairs from your chin. Hey, everyone needs a father!
- Lot 47 Films
- 97 min
- Michael Cuesta
- Gerald Cuesta, Michael Cuesta, Michael M. Ryder
- Brian Cox, Paul Franklin Dano, Billy Kay, Bruce Altman, James Costa, Tony Michael Donnelly, Walter Masterson, Marcia DeBonis, Adam LeFevre
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