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Monday 08 November 2010

Film review: Violet Tendencies

Posted in: Movies
By Christopher Banks - 14th September 2010


USA, 2010 | Director: Casper Andreas
Starring: Mindy Cohn, Marcus Patrick, Jesse Archer
Review: Christopher Banks

If you've checked out the trailer for the new gay comedy Violet Tendencies, then you know what you're in for: a snappy, fast-paced, witty and outrageous crowd-pleaser. Thankfully, this is one of those films where the trailer doesn't lie - and they've still left plenty of good bits for the film itself.

Star of the show is Mindy Cohn, last seen in the deep dark 80s on TV's The Facts of Life, and last heard as the voice of Velma, the possibly lesbian character in The New Adventures of Scooby Doo.

As an aging fag hag in a circle of stylish New York homos, Cohn plays Violet - out in search of the mythical fag stag who will allow her to feel loved in the fullest sense, but let her stay in the gay world she loves.

It's a premise that could easily have groaned under the weight of stereotypes, but with Mindy Cohn - as well as accomplished director Casper Andreas - we're in good hands.

Several of Andreas' previous films, Slutty Summer and A Four Letter Word, have played at Out Takes in previous years, and as for Cohn - quite simply, she's been hiding for far too long. Her warmth, impeccable comic timing and great sense of pathos takes Violet Tendencies to another level.

Violet isn't a sexless cuddle cushion who likes huddling near to the "safety" of gay men - she's one of the boys. She hooks up with an online phone service called "Frisky Friends". She's into poppers, is a poster girl for "anal health" and has buckets of condoms all over the house. She's the door girl at sex parties, asking punters to show their knobs on entry to check they're not policemen.

And yet, she'd still not be out of place down at the local library reading stories to children in the afternoon.

It's perfect casting, and Violet's search for love - ably put off track by the assistance of the manically bitchy and discreetly bulimic model Salome - is a journey you'll be happy to embark with her on.

Oh, what was that? Cute boys? Yes, there's plenty of man-on-man action here too. Two other plots play out alongside Violet's quest: long-time fuck buddies (one month) Darien and Luke are ready to commit to monogamy. Or are they? And genuine long-time couple Marcus and Riley are having problems agreeing on whether they're married. Or ready for kids.

Yes, these men are all effortlessly good-looking with abs you could cut your fingers on, and things get tied up a little too neatly at the end - but there's plenty of entertainment along the way and more than a few belly laughs over the brisk 100-minute running time.

If the entertainment industry were more open to having fully-realized gay characters on screen, then Violet and her chums would definitely be in the running for a sitcom. At the very least, we can hope for a sequel.

But for now, you can catch Violet's adventures in a one-off premiere screening of Violet Tendencies in Auckland this Thursday as part of the Auckland Gay Film Showcase at Galatos.


*Christopher Banks is a writer and filmmaker, who is organising the Auckland Gay Film Showcase.

Christopher Banks - 14th September 2010

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