David Searching Review
By Don Willmott
A young gay man is looking for purpose, happiness, and maybe even love in David Searching, but this low-energy no-budget effort never really takes flight. Why can't David (Anthony Rapp) find a soul mate? Maybe because he's such a self-obsessed sad sack.
A wannabe documentary filmmaker with no real current job, twentysomething David is both shy and repressed and quite unable to make it in the New York gay dating scene. He's a small fish in a very big and barracuda-filled pond. David gets most of his help and moral support from the fat and jolly Gwen (Camryn Manheim), who fills the film's obligatory fag hag slot and who is also seeking some peace of mind as her marriage unravels. David takes her in as his roommate so she's always to provide a wisecrack or a pat on the back.
Like way too many other movies focusing on young adults -- both gay and straight -- navigating the big city in search of love, David Searching is primarily about David's string of nightmarish first dates with a rogue's gallery of supreme weirdos, each with his own unique tic. The most memorable: a guy (Stephen Spinella) who can't stop talking about hummus. You'll also spot John Cameron Mitchell (of Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame) and David Drake among David's would-be suitors. Noted New York stage actress Kathleen Chalfant also shows up as David's grandmother.
But despite the presence of all this talent (Manheim is especially good), David Searching goes nowhere. Even David's desperate trip to a gay bathhouse is a snore, and if you can't make that exciting, well what's the point? Given David's demeanor, and given that really doesn't make much progress as the movie goes along, my guess is that all these years later he's still searching.
Still hasn't found what he's looking for.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 11th September 1998
Cast & Crew
Director: Leslie L. Smith
Producer: Leslie L. Smith, John P. Scholz
Screenwriter: Leslie L. Smith
Starring: Danielle Panabaker as Darcy Deeton, Raviv Ullman as Sam (as Ricky Ullman), Jayne Brook as Claire Deeton, Darcy's mother, Kendre Berry as Winston, Don Brady as Sexton, Kyle Russell Clements as Jock #1, Michael James Dukes as Mike the coffee Shop Manager, Corri English as Jayne Evans, Jeff Galpin as Farmer, Patrick Hazell as Mr. Kerns, Thomas Tah Hyde III as Student, David Jensen as Mr. Casey, Patrick Johnson Jr. as Bus Driver, Mark Krasnoff as Gardner, Billy Aaron Brown as David Deeton