Friday, October 12, 2007

Naked Boys Singing

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Adaptation of Risque Off-Broadway Musical Arrives on Big Screen

If you appreciate truth in advertising, and also like looking at nude men, then you’re apt to enjoy the appropriately entitled Naked Boys Singing. Based on the long-running, Off-Broadway play of the same name, this off-beat comedy is essentially a slightly enhanced film version of the stage production of the risqué musical revue.
Directed by Robert Schrock and Troy Christian, it’s a full-frontal celebration of the male form featuring 16 show tunes with suggestive titles such as “Gratuitous Nudity,” “The Naked Maid,” “Nothin’ But the Radio On,” “The Bliss of Bris” and “Perky Little Porn Star.” Most of the pithy, gay-themed songs have raunchy lines which leave even less to the imagination than the actors cavorting around in their birthday suits.
Actually, the characters aren’t always unrobed but have clothed alter egos, each ostensibly representing a different everyman archetype, as if libidinous extensions of the Village People fantasies, ranging from the construction worker to the delivery man to the muscleman to the erotic entertainer. The movie was shot mostly inside an L.A. theater where the live audience is warned of the dire consequences for anyone who fails to turn off a cell phone before the bawdy burlesque gets underway. And sure enough, a phone rings shortly after the festivities kick-off and the culprit is dragged on stage and stripped butt-naked.
Be forewarned. This picture repeatedly seizes on the flimsiest of excuses to enable the cast to prance about in the altogether, shaking plenty of penises and posteriors. Nonetheless, it’s also easy to elicit from the lyrics that a loftier goal is afoot, namely, to take an honest look at life from a healthy homosexual perspective. For example, “Fight the Urge” describes what it’s like to walk through a men’s locker room when you’re gay, while “Look at What You’ve Missed” is an emotional ode to a late lover who has passed away from AIDS.
Among the standouts in the talented ensemble are Kevin Alexander Stea (as the Naked Maid), Joseph Keane (as the Perky Porn Star) and Salvatore Vassallo (as the Conductor). Alternately silly and shocking, yet ultimately moving, Naked Boys Singing cleverly reveals the vulnerability of ubiquitous nudity to be a window to the human soul.

Excellent (3.5 stars)
Running time: 84 minutes
Studio: TLA Releasing

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