[Screen It]


(1999) (Christian Campbell, John Paul Pitoc) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Minor Moderate None None
Minor None None None Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
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Romantic Comedy: A young gay man runs into various complications as he tries to find a place to be alone with a male dancer he's just met.
Gabriel (CHRISTIAN CAMPBELL) is an aspiring playwright and composer of theatrical musicals who happens to be gay. When not relegated to spending the night out in the hallway while his straight roommate, Rich (BRAD BEYER), uses their one-room apartment for sex, Gabriel has his loudmouthed best friend, Katherine (TORI SPELLING) perform his latest number for a small focus group. Unfortunately, their lukewarm reception isn't encouraging, with an older gay friend, Perry (STEVE HAYES), faulting Gabriel for being emotionally detached from his work.

Looking for a change of pace, Gabriel visits a gay club. While he likes the looks of "go-go boy" male dancer Mark (JOHN PAUL PITOC), he finds the joint's clientele and their come-ons unappealing and leaves. Heading back home on the subway, he runs into Mark again, and the two decide to have a quick fling.

Complications quickly follow, however, as Gabriel and Mark try to find a place to be alone. His apartment seems ideal, but Katherine's there printing her resume, while Rich then returns with Judy (LORRI BAGLEY), a recently liberated young woman who has no qualms about being topless in front of others.

With the two men continuing in their quest to find a place for their fling, they face more complications, their differing expectations about each other, and even a friendly warning from Miss Coco Peru (CLINTON LEUPP), a drag queen who informs Gabriel about Mark's supposed "love 'em and leave 'em" behavior.

Unless they're gay or are interested in films featuring gay characters, it's probably not very likely.
For strong language and sexual content.
  • CHRISTIAN CAMPBELL plays a young and mostly reserved playwright and musical composer who wants to have a fling with a male dancer he's just met.
  • JOHN PAUL PITOC plays that male dancer who initially seems to be just a hustler looking for a one-night stand, but later turns out to be a compassionate guy.
  • BRAD BEYER plays Gabriel's straight roommate who monopolizes their one-room apartment to have sex with various women.
  • TORI SPELLING plays Gabriel's loudmouthed and somewhat obnoxious best friend who occasionally uses strong profanity.
  • STEVE HAYES plays an older gay friend of Gabriel's.
  • LORRI BAGLEY plays Rich's girlfriend who's just returned from Europe with a penchant for going around topless.
  • CLINTON LEUPP plays a flamboyant drag queen who warns Gabriel about Mark.


    OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
    Whether it's due to political correctness or sensing a relatively untapped market, Hollywood has recently increased its inclusion of homosexual characters in its movies and TV shows. While "Ellen" may not have survived after the "outing," other shows such as "Will and Grace" have flourished with several major characters being gay.

    On the big screen, films such as "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "The Object of My Affection" have featured major gay characters and there's even talk that Rupert Everett will star as a new -- and gay -- James Bond character in the near future.

    Two things that are perfectly clear about such shows and films are that they don't focus on the usual subjects of AIDS or the anguish of coming out, and that they include plenty of heterosexual characters in their stories. While the former is to keep things light and cheery, the latter is presumably done to make these films more palatable to mainstream heterosexual audiences. Such was the case with last year's "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss" and now with this week's release of "Trick."

    The true litmus test of how such films will play, however, goes beyond simply including straight characters. One only has to look at the plot, substitute straight characters into the key parts and see if the film still works. Doing so with "Trick" -- a romantic comedy about a couple trying to find a place for a "quickie" but who encounter more complications than sex -- may skew the particulars a bit, but the basic premise remains intact.

    That said, the question that follows is whether this is a good romantic comedy -- be it gay or straight-based. The answer is that it's moderately entertaining with the gay angle adding some complexity to the proceedings as well as some specific humor obviously not applicable if everyone were straight.

    Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, first-time director Jim Fall and screenwriter Jason Schafer have fashioned a gay spin on the romantic comedy as mixed with the sex comedy genre and the late-night street wandering and odd encounters of films such as "Eyes Wide Shut" and "After Hours."

    Unfortunately, the film doesn't really excel in either mode. Although it does have a light and occasionally amusing tone to it, the film never goes far enough with the odd or humorous complications to warrant that plot device. Nor is it funny, let alone hilarious enough to make it more appealing to all moviegoers (such as was the case with "The Birdcage").

    In addition, such moments seem relatively tame when compared with the antics of the supporting characters who steal the show when not chewing on the scenery hard enough to leave noticeable bite marks. As such, most of the film's "big" laughs are dependent on those over-the-top performances.

    With everyone's funny bone reacting differently to attempted humorous stimuli, however, reactions to such characters will obviously vary. For instance, some will find Tori Spelling ("The House of Yes," TV's "Beverly Hills 90210") and her loudmouthed and overbearing character as funny. Others, though may find her annoying, while a flamboyant drag queen character will similarly elicit either moans and complaints of gay stereotypes or amusement at his antics.

    Of course they're just intended as comic flavoring with the more substantive characters being Christian Campbell (TV's "Tek Wars" and "Malibu Shores" and brother to actress Neve) as the Matthew Broderick-like sensitive playwright and newcomer John Paul Pitoc as his more buff one- night stand (who bears a striking resemblance to Lou Diamond Phillips).

    Their performances are good, but they suffer from somewhat contrived character motivations. For instance, while the saying goes "Opposites attract," the two mens' pairing seems unlikely, particularly after frequent and time-consuming complications would have extinguished their lust. This is especially true regarding Mark whose bored reactions should have insured that he'd be long gone before the night was done.

    In addition, his character's change from a seemingly dimwitted hustler to a smart and caring guy who's just looking for love is both abrupt and occurs too quickly and without enough reason for the audience to completely believe it. Beyond that, some may also object to the film's seemingly stereotypical view of gays and those with whom they associate (the sensitive playwright, the male dancer, the flamboyant drag queen and the straight female who has no straight male friends, etc...).

    If not for the gay angle, this picture would be instantly forgettable as just another mediocre romantic comedy. Yet, despite the audience crossover setup and comedic potential appeal, as well as the flamboyant supporting performances and a few funny moments, this film is never more than moderately entertaining or interesting. Thus, we give "Trick" a 5 out of 10.

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R rated, gay-based romantic comedy. Sexual content consists of various discussions/dialogue, the beginnings of some gay encounters and some implied heterosexual encounters. The main gist of the film is two men trying to find a place to carry out a one-night stand.

    A bare-breasted woman is seen as is a man wearing only a small thong (with a bulge in the front and most of his bare butt in the back). Profanity is heavy due to at least 5 uses of the "f" word, while various other profanities and colorful phrases are also uttered throughout the film.

    Beyond that, a few bad attitudes and some drinking and smoking, the rest of the film's categories are void of any major objectionable content. Due to what's present, however, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home, you may want to take a closer look at the listed content.

    Of special note for those concerned with repetitively flashing bright lights, a scene set at a club has a few moments of that.

  • People have drinks in a bar/club.
  • Perry has a drink in a bar and in a later scene has a martini.
  • Mark has a beer.
  • One of Mark's friends is somewhat drunk in a gay club.
  • We hear the sound of Gabriel urinating in a urinal in one scene, and then the same of him and Mark doing the same (in separate urinals) in a later scene.
  • Rich monopolizes his and Gabriel's one-room apartment for sexual liaisons with different women (often making Gabriel spend the night in the hallway or forcing him out).
  • A man who states he already has a boyfriend tries to pick up Gabriel at a gay bar.
  • Both Gabriel and Mark decide to have a one-night stand (although this is modified a bit by the time the story ends) and spend the rest of the night trying to find a place to be alone.
  • Katherine dominates conversations and sticks around/invites herself to be with others when she's not exactly welcomed.
  • None.
  • None.
  • Phrases: "Go down" (oral sex), "Screw," "Laid" and "Horny" (sexual), "Sucked," "Grab life by the balls," "Cajones" (testicles), "Fairies" and "Dykes," "Nuts" (crazy), "Skank," "Jerk," "Nancy pris-ass" and "Shut up."
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 5 "f" words (1 used with "mother" and 2 related slang terms, "screw," used sexually), 17 "s" words, 7 slang terms for male genitals (the Spanish "dinga" and "d*ck"), 2 slang terms for female genitals ("p*ssy" -- but used loosely in a conversation about characters in/titles of "James Bond films), 1 slang term for breasts ("t*tties"), 2 asses, 1 hell, and 7 uses of "Oh my God," 5 of "God," 2 of "G-damn" and 1 each use of "My God" and "Christ" as exclamations.
  • We see Rich in bed with a young woman (with just a sheet around her), apparently after sex. As she gets up to use the bathroom, we see her bare back as she walks away with that sheet around her.
  • Katherine shows some cleavage in various scenes.
  • Perry mentions "sex orgies" and bestiality to Gabriel while critiquing his latest number.
  • Gabriel visits a gay bar where Mark is dancing in a small thong that not only shows a bulge in the front, but also most of his bare butt in the back. We also see various men putting money into his thong.
  • A former go-go boy (male dancer) tells Gabriel how much he got paid and then adds that there's more money to be had if you do "other stuff" (although that's never detailed).
  • As Mark picks up Gabriel for a one-night stand, the latter tells him that his roommate will be back in two hours, causing Mark to state that "You can do a lot in two hours."
  • Finally alone in Gabriel's apartment and with most of the lights turned off, Mark takes off his shirt, undoes his pants and then lies down on his bed. When Gabriel comes over, Mark takes his hand and runs it down his chest toward his crotch. Gabriel's uncomfortable, though, and yanks his hand away. Moments later, however, Mark walks over to Gabriel who's seated at the piano and caresses him, causing Gabriel to remove his shirt (and Mark removes his pants down to his underwear). As Mark continues to caress Gabriel from behind him, he asks if it feels good and "Do you like that?" Gabriel then tells Mark that "I've always wanted someone to go down on me while playing the piano." Mark then gets under the piano and starts to pull off Gabriel's underwear (but nothing else happens as they're interrupted by Rich).
  • Rich and a young woman passionately kiss and we can clearly see her ample breasts in her halter top. As Rich and Gabriel go into the bathroom to discuss who gets to use the apartment, Mark asks this woman what she's looking for. When she replies "a condom," Mark pulls one out of his wallet and hands it to her.
  • As Gabriel explains that he initially wasn't comfortable around gay people, Mark asks, "You suck d*ck, right?" (and Gabriel acknowledges that).
  • Perry sings a song in a club that contains the Spanish equivalent of "How do you like my (slang) penis?"
  • While seated with Gabriel and Mark, Perry asks the latter if he participates in "three-ways or "forgies," but Mark tells him that he doesn't "hustle." Mark then asks Perry, "Can me and Gabe go back to your place and screw around?" Perry says yes and then comments that his place "hasn't seen any action in two weeks."
  • To make his ex-boyfriend jealous, Perry kisses Mark and Mark then says that they have a "purely animal" thing going on between them.
  • We see a few actresses in bras/bikini tops backstage.
  • We see Rich on top of Judy, kissing her in bed (but don't see anything else at the moment in this "shoulders and up" scene). After they stop for a moment and Rich wants to continue, Judy complains that he's always "horny."
  • At another male club where shirtless men dance together, one of Mark's friends/old boyfriend shows up stating that he's "f*cking horny tonight" and that he's going to "get laid." We then see part of this man's bare butt as she shows a tattoo. Later, this man asks Mark "do you want me?"
  • Upon hearing Gabriel's name, Miss Coco Peru -- a drag queen -- asks him if that's as in "Blow, Gabriel, Blow."
  • The drag queen then admits to having slept with Mark and states that he has "a huge penis" and then reiterates that by saying "Unbelievable. Believe me, I should know." He then adds, "It's big, it's beautiful, and you're going to love it." He then talks about his encounter with Mark and says, "So I'm licking his balls and the next thing I know, he comes in my eye...Did you ever get come in your eye, Gabriel? It burns." He then goes on to repeat that he was lying on the bed naked with come in his eye.
  • Outside his apartment door, Gabriel tells Mark that Rich and Judy "are still going at it." As they go in, we see Judy sitting up in bed with just a sheet covering her breasts. Later, she purposefully drops the sheet and we see her large bare breasts for several minutes (and she then gets into an argument with Rich about her baring them and leaves topless).
  • Judy then asks Gabriel and Mark if "you want to do each other." She then says that she finds it "kind of a turn-on" that Mark is a stranger and that it's the "great thing" about anonymous sex. She goes on to say that when you know someone only in a sexual way, it's hard to think of them as a person and that she wants to be a sex counselor someday. She then adds, "Personally, as a sexually active female, I find the idea of two men getting it on incredibly hot" and states that "everyone's bisexual to a degree."
  • Mark briefly comments on an encounter with Miss Coco Peru and that the latter videotaped their encounter.
  • Katherine denies having any lesbian tendencies and there's some related talk about that (but nothing graphic).
  • After Mark and Gabriel passionately kiss/caress each other and Mark then walks out of the public bathroom, Gabriel asks, "What about the sex?" and Mark replies, "What kind of girl do you think I am?"
  • Judy smokes once and various people smoke in bars/clubs.
  • None.
  • One-night stands, whether they're gay or straight.
  • None.

  • Reviewed August 3, 1999 / August 6, 1999

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