Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW: Hot Guys With Guns

I happened to hear about a 1-week screening of Doug Spearman's directorial debut feature film Hot Guys With Guns and was happy that I could catch it in theaters before it is available on video-on-demand from Wolfe Video.

One tag line for the film is "Lethal Weapon if Mel Gibson and Danny Glover were ex boy-friends" and another is "It's Chinatown meets Boystown!" The films stars Brian McArdle as Patrick "Pip" Armstrong and Marc Anthony Samuel as Danny Lohman. Danny and Pip are ex-boyfriends who find themselves embroiled in a curious investigation when Pip is robbed after his attendance at an exclusive Hollywood sex party. Danny is an actor who is taking a night class on becoming a Private Investigator at a local Junior College so together the two try to discover the secrets behind who is victimizing guys who attend certain A-list sex parties. Danny's teacher Jimmy helps the two in the finer points of holding and shooting a gun and as the plot thickens dead body and hooded assailants appear, making it clear that someone has a secret they do not want to be revealed.

The movie is definitely campy and some of the acting is hit or miss. For an unabashedly gay take on the "Nick and Nora" genre of detective films Hot Guys With Guns is definitely a better movie than you would expect  it to be and less serious a film than it thinks it is.

There are definitely hot guys, with scantily clad twinks, hotties and studs galore as our heroes go "undercover" at one of the sex parties to get to the bottom (sic) of what's been going on and find out a lot more about Hollywood's underbelly that appears to be ripped from today's headlines.

The strengths of the movie are its production values (the soundtrack and songs by Mervyn Warren are excellent), the direction (the film is well-paced and even though the story is as thin as an extra-sensitive condom it does not drag) and the performance by Alan Blumenfeld as Jimmy Peppicelli, the PI who teaches Danny's night class in private investigation.

The primary weakness in the film is in the casting. The actors are fine in their roles (for the most part, with some notable exceptions who I shall refrain from mentioning) but I never really believed in the alleged sexual tension between Danny and Pip as ex-boyfriends. One reason is that although both actors are attractive, in my opinion neither of them is really "leading man attractive" in a compelling way. The member of the cast for whom that is true is Darryl Stephens, who was previously the leading man of Noah's Arc. Here Stephens is cast against type as a villain which he sorta pulls off but I think the film would have worked better with him as Danny and any number of very cute white boys who can act and look good in a tank top and speedo as Pip. I understand others may not feel the same way and casting is a mysterious process.

Overall, the film works on its own as a light entertainment, much better than your average niche gay genre film, and that is a significant achievement, really. See it for yourself!

Title: Hot Guys With Guns.
Director: Doug Spearman.
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Release Date: June 27, 2013.
Viewing Date: April 4, 2014.

Writing: C+.
Acting: B-.
Visuals: B+.
Impact: B.

Overall Grade: B/B- (3.167/4.0).

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