The Houseboy

"Very Good"

The Houseboy Review


The Houseboy is badly served by both its title and its poster. While it's certainly frank in discussing issues of sex, it's not the exercise in soft-core porn that its marketing implies. Anything to attract an audience, I suppose. In reality, the film is a character study of a very lost young man looking for love and answers in all the wrong places.

Young Ricky (Nick May), all of 20 years old, has stumbled into a weird relationship with not one but two older men (Damian Fuentes, Tom Merlino). Although the two are a committed couple, they have added Ricky to the mix for fun, but now, as Christmas vacation approaches, the novelty is wearing off. Ricky overhears them discussing how they'll dump him when they return from their vacation. Until then, Ricky, who doesn't technically live with them but has all but moved into their Queens apartment, will housesit. Feigning ignorance, Ricky sees them off and then starts to stew in his own lonely misery.

To combat that loneliness, Ricky starts cruising the streets of Queens and, even worse, sits himself down in front of Craigslist and begins lining up a series of humiliating and potentially dangerous hookups. One guy arrives and recalls being at the apartment a week earlier with one of Ricky's friends. Another shows up, does the deed, and then rattles off a litany of verbal abuse. A third guy, clearly drug-addled, calls up a few of his friends and turns the apartment into an all-night crystal meth and sex orgy that Ricky warily observes from the sidelines, getting involved only to comfort one tweaking teen he finds weeping in the bathtub. At Ricky's lowest point, he finds himself on his knees in front of some fat-middle-aged guy in a skanky kitchen in some forgotten corner of the city. It ain't pretty.

Salvation comes in the form of the sweet-natured Blake (Blake Young-Fountain), a well-adjusted young gay man Ricky encounters on a park bench. Blake is smart, funny, kind, and not the kind of boy to kiss on the first date. As Ricky continues to work through his demons of loneliness, self-hatred, and estrangement from his family, he finds himself gravitating toward Blake while realizing that his self-destructive behavior isn't going to get him anywhere but dead.

It's a credit to writer/director Spencer Schilly that all of this is handled with notable realism and restraint. His indictment of the Internet as a tool for meaningful social connection is especially trenchant. If you've ever wondered just how pitiful the people who rely on Craigslist for hook-ups are, now you know. At least when you pick up a guy on a park bench you can see his face and take a stab at a conversation.

Who needs a hug?



The Houseboy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 81 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 11th November 2007

Production compaines: TLA Releasing

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Spencer Schilly

Producer: Derek Curl

Starring: Nick May as Ricky, Blake Young-Fountain as Blake, Damián Fuentes as Dominic, Tom Merlino as Simon, Matthew Sandager as Cokehead

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