Originally published on So So Gay on 31 October 2014.
‘Just because you’ve eaten a man’s ass doesn’t mean you owe him dinner,’ Rod Gay-Paris (Frank Holliday) helpfully tells his son, Alex (Mike Russnak), during one of many insightful dinnertable conversations they have about ‘how to be a gay’. Not to be outdone, Rod’s transsexual wife Bobbie (Chris Tanner) is all too happy to educate Alex and his brother, Tommy (Flip Jørgensen), about how they came into this world (SPOILERS: they were intestinal babies, delivered out of Bobbie’s ass. Don’t worry about trying to imagine this – there’s no need to imagine anything if you watch this film…).
We find out all about Alex’s colourful childhood, being brought up gay, as in the ‘current’ time frame he’s telling an inquisitive guy he’s met at a bar everything there is to know about his family, The Gays. All these amusing and gross-out tales are unashamedly trying to make you groan with laughter – and a lot of the time it manages it. It’s colourful and camp nonsense that feels like a 67-minute version of the acting challenges from RuPaul’s Drag Race, with the same stilted line delivery and mixed but enjoyable results.
The Gays has all the right ingredients to be a bit of a cult classic: a man in drag, a cute guy in a lead role (we’re deducting a point for the fact that Russnak is taken), outrageous one-liners and near-the-knuckle humour, plus a decent helping of nudity – proper penis nudity, no less; The Gays has it all! It even manages to throw in a spoof of The Exorcist for the birthing scene.
Sure, the acting is a bit patchy and the camera work is rather weak – the shot occasionally frames the background rather than the actor, sometimes the camera is a bit shaky, and there’s a constant and sluggish focusing going on that makes you think either you or the cameraman is drunk; quite possibly both. However, to be overly critical of this film would be to miss the point of it entirely. It’s not trying to be high art (its title may have been your first clue), but it’s more than happy embracing its low-rent, raucous comedy status and is all the better for it.
It’s impossible not to find The Gays endearing, as it’s clearly not taking itself too serious and the cast are knowingly hamming it up to the hilt, particularly Tanner. T.S. Slaughter’s script may not be hilarious, but it has sufficient zingers and a general high-camp sensibility that makes it an enjoyably filthy ride.