If the final aw-moments in “Tru Loved” were indeed true, California’s deplorable Prop. 8 wouldn’t have stood a chance in hell of passing. But, topped with a pretty pink bow, queer writer-director Stewart Wade’s out-of-touch dramedy mostly deserved the beating it got from Roger Ebert when the film critic recently decided eight minutes of the movie was enough, walked out and gave it a thumbs down based on what he saw (he later, after controversy erupted, screened the film in entirety, still maintaining his one-star rating).
It’s obvious why. So much story is crammed in, so many characters are loose, stereotypical archetypes, and so much of your time will be wasted if you see this drab bore – unless you’re looking for messages that’ll massage your heart and super-glue a smile on your face. That it does, and well.
“Tru Loved” actually begins promisingly, with lesbian moms and their name-called straight daughter, Tru, who deals with a new town, a new high school, new friends and the inevitable snotty teenage clique. The 16-year-old (the film’s champ, Najarra Townsend), realizes her potential new boyfriend, Lodell (Matthew Thompson), is queer. To keep it on the down-low, she acts as his diversion. Things get complicated when Tru launches a GSA and, during a meeting, spots a hetero hottie.
Had the movie’s remainder fleshed out Tru’s straight-kid-with-gay-parents story, this humdrum after-school special could’ve materialized into a groundbreaking queer film. Instead it’s stuck in quick sand – and sinks into an abyss of been-there-done-that gay cinema.
Compared to last year’s endearing festival-opener “Shelter” – and several better choices, like the avant-garde “Were the World Mine,” also at the current Reel Pride Film Festival – it’s a mighty shame this drivel was selected for the opening night gala.
Just about everything in Wade’s script is obvious – the piggish football coach who calls his players “girls,” the triumphant coming-out story, the gayer-than-Christmas dads. And as if slapping on more rainbow hues than a Rubik’s Cube wasn’t bad enough, “Tru Loved” feels fake, like a lot of the acting. Almost like it’s been lifted out of one of the cheesy, uncalled-for daydreams in the beginning.
The homophobic jock instantly comes around when his buddy escapes the closet and everyone and their homophobic mother is gay (including all four of Tru’s parents, her new pal, a teacher, her boyfriend’s dad). It ends sweetly with a wedding – but would school staff who doesn’t even know the couple getting hitched really attend? It might have a lot of heart, and will probably be embraced for its clogged message cache, but you have to wonder where all the brain went. C-
Opening Night Gala
7 p.m. Nov. 13
Main Art Theatre, Royal Oak