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Review: Summer Storm

The film looks fabulous but it’s all very schematic.

Summer Storm
Photo: Regent Releasing

Tobi (Robert Stadlober) gleefully chases Achim (Kostja Ullmann) up a spiral staircase, pulling at his best bud’s shorts and sneaking a quick peek at his ass crack. This is after Tobi throws a bucket of water on the bench-pressing Achim, who allows himself to be mounted for an impromptu wrestling match. (Who knew being a closet case was this much fun!) Then, a porn groove, a route marker for one of two directions Summer Storm can now take: (a) the path of a Bruce La Bruce production (Tobi and Achim suck each other’s dicks and cope with their socio-political divides before tearing some shit up and blowing each other some more) or (b) the path of a gay Coppertone ad (Tobi and Achim tickle each other some more and usher in a prickly summer paved with gooey homoeroticism, misdirected rage, a shitload of mixed signals, and many lessons learned about how gays and straights should—and shouldn’t—behave around each other). B it is!

As capped by a side-by-side whack-off session, the darling camaraderie between Tobi and Achim is essentially foreplay for the didactic coming-out story that follows. Call it: Hey, Toby, I Know What You Did Last Summer: You Went Gay! Members of a rowing team, the boys and their teammates head off to some kind of woodsy retreat where they expect to see lots of German chicks with big tits. Instead, one of the boys gets his foreskin stuck in his zipper (long story!) right before the group learns that the German chicks stayed home because they got sick (every single last one of them—imagine that!), their place in the competition now taken up by a bunch of muscle dudes who call themselves quers. It probably goes unsaid that all hell breaks loose when someone adds the missing e to the team’s logo.

Battle lines are drawn between the straights and gays, a rift egregiously highlighted when a fat-ass pine tree falls between Tobi and his friends mere seconds after he’s dragged out of the closest by his understanding girlfriend and the cute boy he makes out with in Prince of Tides-style fashion on a remote wharf. The film looks fabulous but it’s all very schematic, as if director Marco Kreuzpaintner charted the whole damn thing using blueprints from countless Afterschool Specials. As such, if there’s a place for the film’s tender PG-13 sex and naïve lessons about tolerance, then it’s probably among the twee gays boys Kreuzpaintner looks to safely and conscientiously lead out of the closet like some politically correct Pied Piper. But, seriously, was the Village People’s “Go West” the only song he could play?

Cast: Robert Stadlober, Kostia Ullmann, Alicia Bachleda-Curus, Tristano Casanova, Miriam Morgenstern, Marlon Kittel, Hanno Koffler, Jürgen Tonkel, Alexa Surholt, Jeff Fischer, Joseph M'Barek, Michael Wiesner, Benjamin Vilzmann Director: Marco Kreuzpaintner Screenwriter: Thomas Bahmann, Marco Kreuzpaintner Distributor: Regent Releasing Running Time: 94 min Rating: R Year: 2004 Buy: Video

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