Boys Life 4: Four Play (2003)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Gay & Lesbian Films, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Aug 1, 2003 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Like the previous Boys Life collections of gay short films, this fourth installment proves to be a mixed bag. The standout contribution (from Boys Life veteran Brian Sloan) is Bumping Heads, an amusing snapshot of thwarted desire starring two mainstays of indie gay romance: Andersen Gabrych (Edge of Seventeen) and Craig Chester (Swoon, Frisk, and Adam & Steve). Sloan's premise may be slight, but it's polished and well-executed, as are his actor's performances. The same can hardly be said of O Beautiful, writer/director Alan Brown's overwrought contribution. From its pretentious split-screen presentation and clumsily "authentic" dialogue to its ham-fisted exploration of Big Issues, this one's basically worthless. As for the two films that fall between such extremes, mockumentary L.T.R. (for "long-term relationship") makes some apt observations about the absurdity of young love, but it's not as subtle or effortless as Bumping Heads. This Car Up could have been as awful as O Beautiful; its gimmicky three-way split screen -- meant to evoke a slot machine -- nearly oversells the script's themes of fate and longing. But by concentrating on little details, writer Andrew Peterson and director Eric Mueller manage to keep things entertaining. Boys Life 4 may not score points for consistency, but with only one must-skip segment, it's still worth watching.