Showboy Movie Review

It takes real cojones to make a fake documentary about yourself that starts with your firing from the only job you're known for.

Christian Taylor probably isn't a name you know by heart; he's actually a writer for HBO's Six Feet Under. Showboy proves that he's got chops in front of the camera, too.

Here's the setup (and bear with me for this rather convoluted premise): A "documentary crew" decides to make a film about Taylor (presumably in real life), only to inadvertently overhear on the first day of shooting that he's been fired from 6FU. Taylor doesn't let on to the crew, even after he moves to Las Vegas, where he tells them he's "working on a project" of indeterminate type. As it turns out, Taylor is trying to launch a new career as a Vegas "showboy"/dancer -- though he pretends with the documentarians that it's all for research.

The funny thing is that Taylor can't dance at all and knows nothing about the career path. He shows up at an audition in a polo shirt and khakis when everyone else is in real dance attire. He hangs around casinos trying to get parts, only he's way too short and a little too flabby. His competition is impecabbly tanned; he burns after 10 minutes in a tanning booth. Taylor doesn't look like he's going to land anything, especially not with his writer's mop of a hairdo. It's played for laughs extremely well, though it's all dry as the Las Vegas air. If you don't like comedy that doesn't quite cue you in on where to laugh, this movie isn't for you.

Things slowly turn around as Taylor figures out what the hell he's doing, and unfortunately that's where the film starts to lose its mojo. Once Taylor's redone his hair and body to look like any other buffed-out Vegas chump, interest begins to fade in his story. Fortunately for us, it's clear that despite his best attempts, it will never really pan out, and this tragicomic tale will pay off in the end. And strangely, how much of this is mock and how much is doc never really becomes clear.

It's all too bad the title and the cover art make this movie seem like it's squarely in the gay cinema genre (and in truth Taylor is gay, but this movie is not at all sexual and could easily be rated PG) instead of the mockumentary one. Assuming you're not gay, ignore the beefcake cover and give Christian Taylor and his compadre Lindy Heymann a shot. But if you do miss it, I have a hunch we'll see them in another skunkworks project again -- hopefully one with a less obtuse premise.


Comments

Showboy Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 2002

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