“Get it where you can” seems to be the motto of most movies grappling with the depressed lives of gay men in Bumblefuck, where hanging out in bathrooms waiting to suck cock becomes a necessary means of letting off steam. Amnon Buchbinder’s very-Canadian Whole New Thing may be the thorniest film on the cine-block, dealing as it does with the sexuality of a 13-year-old who develops an insane crush on his English teacher, except it unravels in episodic clumps. Raised by his hippie parents in an eco-home in Nova Scotia, Emerson (Aaron Webber) is a gangly little thing who might be related to Harry Potter, only his sexual agency makes no distinction between Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and his talents include nocturnal emissions and giving back massages. Having just finished writing a 1,000-page novel by hand (he jokes that it’s about “the sex lives of Hobbits”), the boy sticks out like a sore thumb when he’s shipped to a local school by his mother. His fluid, hippie-honed sexuality is a challenge to everyone, from his teacher Don (Daniel Maclvor) to the class bully intimidated by rumors that Emerson took a classmate into his sauna and dropped his pants. The film builds to a remarkable scene in which the boy confronts Don for blowing a trick in a bathroom stall at a rest stop instead of having sex with him, but the clutter around this scene is not so audacious. The precocious Emerson’s confusion about sex is flagrant and real (rejected by Don, he hopes into a car with a strange man hoping his teacher will come rescue him), but the film’s other characters are not so complexly sketched. Too many gay-themed films today reveal a perplexing allegiance to the lexicon of Will and Grace, but those with grander ambitions, like Whole New Thing, still feel aesthetically retarded (Buchbinder’s cropped filmmaking is claustrophobic in all the wrong ways), evincing an Ed Zwickian dramatic tenor that would probably scan better on ABC.
- Picture This!
- 94 min
- Amnon Buchbinder
- Amnon Buchbinder, Daniel Maclvor
- Aaron Webber, Robert Joy, Rebecca Jenkins, Daniel Maclvor, Kathryn MacLellan, Drew O'Hara, Ryan Hartigan, Geordie Brown, Callum Keith Rennie, Jackie Torrens
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