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Bad Boy Street

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Oct 1, 2012
Bad Boy Street

"Bad Boy Street" is a mixed bag; a shoestring movie with outsized charm, thanks mainly to its cast, but also an ambitious film undone by its lack of production values and, to a greater degree, a lack of depth.

It's hard to argue with writer-director Todd Verow's all-out, and tongue-in-cheek, premise. Paris resident Claude (Yann de Monterno), a fortyish hunk, is on his way home from a night of partying when he spies a handsome young man passed out in a gutter on the aptly-named "Rue des Mauvais Garçons." Claude, concerned for the young man's well being, takes him home, tucks him in, and sleeps on the sofa.

The next morning, Claude receives his reward for his compassion, when his guest -- whose name turns out to be Brad (Kevin Miranda) -- wakes him up in a manner befitting a porn movie. For a moment or two, it seems as though "Bad Boy Street" is actually going to turn into a porno, not least because of the intrusive, electronic score, but the camera keeps things just this side of explicit with some razor-close framing. (The score never improves, unfortunately, but on the other hand at least this movie has a score.)

This steamy sensibility isn't a bad thing at all; soon enough, Claude and Brad are falling for each other, and we completely understand why. The sex here is used as move sex should be, as shorthand for meaningful connection. The only stumbling block in the way of their happiness is the fact that Brad has to go back home to America soon... well, that and his shyness, which is so acute that when Claude's best friend, a woman named Catherine (Florence D'Azamar) shows up, Brad hides himself away on Claude's balcony.

Other strange things start to happen: Brad, having promised to meet Claude for dinner, shows up late... about 12 hours late, in fact; by that time, Claude, heartbroken, has drunkenly slept with Catherine to console himself. Even when the guys patch things up and spend the next day or so together (in bed, walking the streets of Paris, in bed, sharing meals, back in bed yet again) Brad keeps stepping away to take nagging phone calls from his "friends." Just what is going on?

The answer arrives soon enough, and while it might not surprise the audience, it's enough of a shock to drive the two lovers apart -- perhaps forever. (Just in case you might wonder, Brad's claim to be an American... despite Miranda's decidedly non-American accent... is not part of this; the movie, with great cheek, asks us to believe that Brad really is an American in Paris.)

There's heartbreak, crass American manners, and more solace between Claude and Catherine (thankfully, not more sex; they resort to cake instead). There's even a big, fat swipe at the overt commercialism and mindless spectacle of American films, in a devastatingly funny, but poorly executed, clip that's supposed to be a film within the film but which looks like the rest of this movie: As though it was shot on someone's video camera, and not even necessarily a hi-def digital camera.

It's easy to forgive the film's cheap look (which includes its languid editing, with some shots feeling extended only for the sake of a longer running time) in favor of the sweet love story it tells. It would be even sweeter if the story were about something other than two guys falling in love, finding out that there are obstacles to overcome, and then, without evident effort, eventually overcoming those obstacles (or not; there's a well-judged ambiguity about this point). This is a funny and charming movie, but it's forgettable, lacking the punch or power of, say, the similarly-themed "Weekend," another shoestring film that took the idea of meeting someone special and not being able to hold on to him, and made it into something more than a soapy trifle.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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