The witty and charming modern-day teen dramedy "Geography Club," which Breaking Glass Pictures is releasing on DVD on March 25, 2014, is the latest example of Glass giving fellow Philadelphia producer of independent gay and lesbian fare and other art-house films TLA Entertainment a run for its money in the same manner as all-time Unreal TV favorite Warner Archive outshines Shout! Factory on numerous levels.
It is also fair to assert that the late great John Hughes might have made "Club" if he produced films today.
The humor and overall honest tone of "Club" creates a moderate desire to man up and hit the young adults section of the local Barnes and Noble to buy the Russell Middlebrook novels by Brent Hartinger on which the film is based. Considering that that is as unlikely as being able to buy an uber-tasty Chick-fil-a chicken biscuit sandwich in Boston, one can only hope and pray that Glass will produce more films based on those books.
The titular club is an organization that a small group of LGBT high school students formed to covertly meet to openly gossip and candidly discuss issues that they are facing in that order. The idea is that no one who is not in on the secret would want to join a club apparently centered around such a boring topic.
Club member Min catching (then confused) Russell making out with dreamy quarterback Kevin during a weekend school outing (of course, pun intended) prompts her to invite Russell to literally and figuratively join the club.
Russell portrayor Cameron Deane Stewart, who clearly exceeds the age of his character by at least eight years, does a nice job playing Russelll as an everykid.
This boy next door who is meeting the world seems to fit in well but does not have a perfect life even before beginning to realize that he like boys; he also balances his sensitive side with a playful nature and a good sense of responsibility. The overall image is that he belongs to the class of nice young men who work at the pizza place down the street.
Russell does a great gazelle impression regarding how he cautiously observes and ultimately (but still secretly) embraces the club while even more covertly embracing Kevin, who is still scared to venture from the dark recesses of the wardrobe.
The manner in which Justin Deeley, who is perhaps best known for his role in the recent "Beverly Hills 90210" remake, sensitively plays Kevin both makes us wish that he would find a portal to the fantasy land of Narnia in the dark and allows for creating a suspension of disbelief regarding that mid-20s man playing a 17 year-old.
Kevin convincing Russell to join the football team to provide them a cover for hanging out without it appearing gay causes Russell further angst regarding pressure to go along with other team member's anti-gay remarks and a brutal bashing of an intensely quiet and nervous member of the Geography Club.
The overflowing similarities between "Club" and "Glee" are so obvious that one expects the kids in the film to break into a rendition of "I Am What I Am" from the musical version of "La Cage Aux Folles" at any moment. Having Alex Newell, who plays an effeminate cross-dressing teen on "Glee," play an effeminate teen-in-denial regarding his placement on the Kinsey Scale on "Club" only adds to the vibe described above.
The following spoiler-filled trailer, courtesy of YouTube, provides a good sense of the appropriately dramatic tone of this film and a hint of laugh-out-loud humor in it.
Fanboys of all ages will rejoice in "Club" producer Michael Huffington casting "Quantum Leap" and "Star Trek: Enterprise" dreamy hunk Scott Bakula as the stereotypical television veteran in the role of Kevin's very liberal father. Folks who encounter Bakula on his real-life Sunday morning forays to the convenience store know both that he is tailor-made for the role and that he apparently proudly favors a military form of dress.
"Saturday Night Live," "Mean Girls," and "Suburgatory" fans will be equally pleased to see Ana Gasteyer as an equally awesome wacky health teacher who truly places the needs of her students above her own; her scene in which she confronts a shoe flinging boy is one of the best in the film.
The year-end report for this high school based film is that it earns a solid B+. It largely avoids casting hyper and/or overly emo doe-eyed twinks in roles that fit those personalities but still succumbs to some stereotypes. It also offers suffering LGBT teens limited hope for happier lives but wraps things up a little too neatly.
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