Went to the Quad tonight for the 7:15 show of BearCity, Doug Langway's bear rom com about a group of men looking for love, self-acceptance and the occasional cheap thrill, and was surprised how much of a good time I wound up having.
BearCity—co-written by Langway with film writer Lawrence Ferber—is sort of like a hairy, white Noah's Arc with some Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City thrown in. Tyler (first-time film actor Joe Conti) is a preppy thesp who's sick of acting like he isn't wildly attracted to bears. He meets furry partners Brent (Big Gay Sketch Show's Stephen Guarino) and Fred (Brian Keane) and is taken under their paws, finding himself introduced to 400-pound Michael (Gregory Gunter) and his cubby hubby BF Carlos (James Martinez) as well as the hottest bear in town, silver-haired and silver tongued Roger (CSI's Gerald McCullouch). Instant community!
Tyler falls hard for Roger, who seems to resist returning the favor to protect his rep among the muscle bears—as much as Tyler has felt expressing his attraction to bears to be a second coming out, Roger feels the same way about expressing his attraction to a non-bear.
What follows is a fairly typical gay romance (the first half of the movie feels a bit generic), though beyond the main characters there are interesting subplots involving Brent and Brian's discussions about opening their relationship and Michael's desire to have a lap band procedure in order to drop over 200 pounds and become more presentable during job interviews.
The bears in the audience lapped up even the occasionally thin humor like honey, but anyone would have to laugh at an absolutely classic comic shower three-way that comes late in the film and is worth the price of admission all on its own.
Guarino (full disclosure—a friend of mine) is the stand-out, but don't take my word for it—he won Best Actor at Outfest and deservedly so. His Brent has depth from his first lines, an offbeat and hilariously defensive sense of humor but also real heart. His chemistry with a charmingly libidinous Keane makes their storyline even more compelling than the leads'.
I was most pleasantly surprised by the performances of Sebastian La Cause (as soulfully slutty Spaniard Fernando, pictured) and Alex Di Dio, the former of whom is tender and seductive enough to make you believe Roger really might try to move him into his place within 24 hours and the latter of whom takes the potentially painfully arch role of Tyler's flaming pal Simon and uses it to craft a genuinely, unpredictable presence responsible for loads o' laughs.
As for the requisite nudity, the filmmaker immortalizes just about everyone's ass and throws in several orgy scenes complete with plenty of pubes and more thrusts than a Falcon DVD.
But it's not all about sex, it's all about love, and while I didn't love the first part of the movie, it closed strong. A sequel is already in the discussion stages.