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Raging in Boston

[whitespace] All the Rage
Christine Loss

With a Sauna in Their Hearts: Alan Natale (from left), John-Michael Lander and Jay Corcoran take a break in Roland Tec's new film, 'All the Rage.'

Gay film targets young and affluent

By Richard von Busack

BOSTON TODAY, in the years post AIDS--or rather, post AIDS panic. Christopher (John-Michael Lander) is emblematic of gay life at its most unfettered. He's handsome, fit, young and affluent, light of heart and lighter of conscience, and he lives cozily in an impressive, renovated red-brick building. This vision of Boston by first-time director/producer/writer Roland Tec (attractively photographed by Gretchen Widmer) is a metropolitan gay paradise. No heterosexuals save one, Christopher's chum Susan (Merle Perkins), disturb the scene of all-male parties, cruising bars and supper clubs.

Christopher is very promiscuous, but the endless circuit of one-night stands is weighing on him, and he's beginning to fancy falling in love. Christopher sets his attentions on a man who is not at all his usual type. Stewart (David Vincent) is a gentle, soft-bodied ex-Midwesterner who got his heart badly broken and is reluctant to get involved right away. Still, Christopher's courtship melts him, and soon the two are an item. Then trouble brews. Christopher's long-smoldering attraction to a guy at the gym, Kenny (Alan Natale)--privately nicknamed "donkey dick"--flares up when it turns out that Kenny is Stewart's roommate.

All the Rage is based on Tec's play A Better Boy; a filmed play is bad enough, but a filmed, under-rehearsed play is something worse. Widmer's city scenes give the story fresh air, but some unrelated shtick clogs the narrative--particularly, the dull gags about Susan's struggle to find Mr. Right through the personal ads. The film could have used the bell-jar-like atmosphere of Neil LaBute's films to make Christopher's misdeeds look really wicked. Also, Lander's drop-dead perfection and irresistibility are something we have to take on faith; he's attractive enough, but he's not the most gorgeous man the movies have ever sold us. Aside from that, All the Rage endorses tattling and shunning. The film is a morality lesson for a very select few: the morality is hard, and the few are few indeed. The unintentional moral of the story is a little depressing, too: Yesterday's outsiders are tomorrow's bourgeoisie.

All the Rage (Unrated; 104 min.), written and directed by Roland Tec, photographed by Gretchen Widmar and starring John-Michael Lander and David Vincent.

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From the March 4-10, 1999 issue of Metro.

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