Don’t be a drug dealer.
Oh, and your dreams can come true. But not so much if you’re a drug dealer.
These are the lessons viewers walk away with after seeing “Cowboys & Angels” by writer and director David Gleeson, a rare gay-themed film from Ireland.
Straight guy Shane (Michael Legge, “Angela’s Ashes”) is looking for an apartment but can’t afford a decent one on his own. Gay guy Vincent (Alan Leech) is also looking for an apartment and needs a roommate to live in the city.
You can guess what happens next.
Shane, who is cute, but rather boring and unhip, finds himself a little overwhelmed with Vincent, who is less boring and way hipper. Their shared apartment is entirely decorated and furnished by Vincent. There isn’t even room for Shane’s toothbrush in the medicine cabinet, which is filled with Vincent’s toiletries. It’s a modern day “Odd Couple.”
Vincent is an art student. Shane is an employee of a boring bureaucracy.
Vincent has a faux-hawk and leather pants. Shane has boring straight-guy hair and a brown leather vest.
Vincent goes to nightclubs. Shane stays home alone.
Vincent has sex with handsome men. Shane has sex with no one.
Vincent has a beautiful female best friend. Shane has a crush on her.
Clearly what Shane needs is an Irish “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Once he has cool clothes and knows the importance of moisturizing, his life will be so much better, right?
Perhaps, if Shane didn’t get all tangled up in illegal drug running. Because then his new mate Vincent and the girl he likes would get really disappointed in him and all his coolness would be lost.
“Cowboys & Angles” has an “After School Special” quality to it. The dialog is often clich (when Shane’s boss warns him that he’s burning his candle at both ends Shane replies, “It’s my wick and I’ll go out in flames if I want to”) and the moralizing gets tedious quickly.
None of the characters are interesting enough to really get you to care about what happens to them. Vincent is by far the most put together of all the characters in the film: he’s handsome, confident, knows what he wants to do in life, and doesn’t do drugs. It’s a nice change of pace when you consider how historically many films portray the homosexual as unhappy, sexless, and destined to die tragically. Vincent is portrayed as just a regular guy who happens to be gay.
Unfortunately, regular guys usually aren’t interesting enough to have films made about them, and Shane and Vincent are no exception. They’re nice to look at, but with style put decidedly before substance, you aren’t likely to remember or miss them, or the film based on their characters, after these 89 minutes with them are over.
Don’t be a drug dealer.