Three of the four lead actors from 2006's gleefully raunchy, undeniably amusing "American Pie" spoof, "Another Gay Movie
," do not return for its sequel. Their absence is explained away perfectly in the very first scene, with a character looking directly into the camera and ruthlessly telling the audience that their agents refused to allow them to participate, believing that any performer who plays a gay part twice will be typecast and assumed by the masses to really be homosexual themselves. It's a stingingly honest comment on the acting business, as well as the society we live in today, and helps the viewer to buy into a trio of new actors taking on the same roles.
With that out of the way, "Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild" is free to get on with its intentionally ridiculous story, as 20-year-old gay buddies Nico (Jonah Blechman, the single holdover of the original's main stars), Andy (Jake Mosser), and monogamous couple Griff (Aaron Michael Davies) and Jarrod (Jimmy Clabots) head for spring break in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is here that the annual "Gays Gone Wild" competition is about to take place, run by activities director Tyrelle Tyrelle (RuPaul). The object of the game is to sleep with as many people as possible over the course of the week, racking up "fuckstamps" in the process.
The randy foursome have quite the adversaries for the title in the form of the front-running Jaspers squad, leader Jasper (Will Wikle), assistant Jasper Chan (Brandon Lim) and the name-says-it-all Jasper Pledge (Isaac Webster). They also are not without their setbacks. The lovably flaming Nico finds a Tiki idol on the beach and unknowingly becomes a pariah to men because of it. Andy, meanwhile, starts to fall for sexy (and virginal) Latin vacationer Luis (Euriamis Losada), tossing a corkscrew in his manwhoring ways. And Griff and Jarrod, who initially proclaim their devotion to each other, agree to join the competition despite their unavoidable jealousy in seeing their partner with others guys.
As is often the case with sequels, "Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild" is a more slapdash affair than its predecessor. In writer-director Todd Stephens' attempts to outdo the first picturethe most successful cinematic parody in several years, by the wayhis rapid-fire stream of gags and jokes are coarser and, as a result, less beguiling. Some of his source of humor goes for gory shock-valuean awkward mix in a gay-targeted beach spoof that really doesn't have a place for a "Dawn of the Dead"-inspired dream sequence involving cannibalistic zombies and John Carpenter's iconic music score from 1978's "Halloween
." Another set-piece involving incest and bucketloads of vomit is more uncomfortable than funny.
For all of his less-than-successful moments, writer-director Todd Stephens fortunately has retained enough sunshine, sweetness, and bravely go-for-broke showmanship to keep things moving at an amiable pace. Nico, Andy, Griff and Jarrod are endearing, entertaining protagonists who, amidst all of the exaggerated humor, manage to still feel like real people. The colorful, fashion-ready Nico is a particular standout, aided by Jonah Blechman's fearless, hilarious performance. Blechman seems to be channeling Bette Davis by way of Joan Crawford, dives full-tilt into a musical number about golden showers, and is never less than fun to watch. Andy's relationship with Luis is the heart of the film, taking time out to develop their bond rather than just make it another joke in the movie's gag-filled roster. The conflict that Griff and Jarrod face, wanting to be faithful to each other while also sexually experimenting with others, rings true even though the outcome of this subplot is a bit too easy and pat.
Parodies and references to other films are plentiful and, in some cases, happily unpredictable, narrowing in on its gay-centric sensibilities and foreknowledge of who its target audience is. Just as Elisabeth Shue did in the recent "Hamlet 2
," celebrity blogger Perez Hilton is a great sport playing a fictional version of himself who experiences a spiritual reawakening after joining the mile-high club with a priest on the flight to Fort Lauderdale. When he shows up in one scene, wig and costume in tow, and reenacts a scene from "Carrie" as fanatical mother Margaret White, it is admirable enough to semi-redeem Hilton's less-than-virtuous claim to fame. "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" also is humorously recalled, as is a choice scene from 1997's wonderful "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion."
The climax of "Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild," in which Nico gives a deliriously silly speech about self-empowerment before joining in on an orgy free-for-all, is like the similar conclusion to 2004's "A Dirty Shame
" without John Water's pretension toward any bigger meaning. This film, an NC-17 version of "Where the Boys Are" and "Beach Blanket Bingo," offers no real insights into the experience of the gay community, and that's as it should be. "Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone While" isn't quite as memorable as the inaugural "Another Gay Movie
," but there is something rather laudable and groundbreaking about a series that takes the endless mainstream comedies released each year about straight people and joyfully turns them on their heads for a certain segment of the audience who rarely see themselves recognized and counted. It's about time.