So Gay: Despite its stereotypes, ‘The Big Gay Musical’ satisfies. Plus DVD shorts.
by Nancy Ford
It’s common knowledge that the gays love the musicals. So it makes perfect sense that the gays would also love The Big Gay Musical. It’s fine, silly, queer film fare, complete with chorus boys, coming-out escapades, and lots of biblical references.
In it, Paul and Eddie’s real lives closely align with the characters they play in an off-Broadway play, Adam and Steve: Just the Way God Made ’Em. Eddie wants to lose his real-life virginity with Mr. Right. Paul just wants to get laid, or so he thinks: the poor, sensitive thing ends up hiring a hooker to spoon.
Though played way, way over-the-top, this play-within-the-movie concept works well, allowing writer/directors Casper Andreas and Fred Caruso as they plow the fertile field of gay culture with abandon. We can’t help but laugh at the Fosse-parodying choreography, ham-handed Bette Davis and DreamGirls references, and the requisite Liza Minnelli impersonator. And we love the Greek chorus of angels that is more Greek than angelic as they chime in with support and advice. For good measure, Andreas and Caruso even toss in a same-sex pas de deux à la Swan Lake.
The film also addresses the hypocrisy of ex-gay therapy via Patty May, an Aqua Net-heavy televangelist as she prays for more money. Her husband, Benny, admonishes, “It’s not your money; it’s God’s money. And God wants his money back.” With their help, via their Breeder Informational Book of Living Examples (get it?), we learn that Eve was the first homophobe and Cain killed Abel for singing a show tune.
Just when you think it’s all fluff, TBGM also touches on real-life themes like AIDS, greedy televangelism, and even Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kerns’ preposterous assertion in 2008 that homosexuality is a greater threat to the U.S. than terrorism. TBGM also gets serious with its triumphant 11 o’clock number, “I Won’t Change for You,” and an unexpected HIV diagnosis lends heavy reference to practicing safe sex, a concept especially important in light of new statistics showing increase in infection among gay men. And for that, we say, “Bravo!”
The film opens with a fresh, funny cameo with Village Voice culture critic and frequent MSNBC contributor, Michael Musto, posing the musical non-question, “I need a musical—a big, gay musical!” Suffice it to say, Musto gets exactly what he asks for. From Breaking Glass Pictures (breakingglasspictures.com).