Partners (1982) Poster

(1982)

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A Little Information Is Better Than None At All
omniwise23 February 2004
I would like to point out to all the people who felt it necessary to take offence at this movie: It was pretty groundbreaking for the time it was released. Speaking as a lone gay teenager in the Bible Belt, it was very informative to see people such as the "caftan clad landlord" and realize that there were places in the world where men could live together as couples. The landlords story of his relationship was very touching.This movie holds a special place in my heart because it was the FIRST movie that let me know I was not alone in the world. If you are not gay, you don't understand what I am pointing out.If you are gay, and you are that offended at the gay stereotyping in the movie, then you were born in California, New York or somewhere else progressive and should consider yourself fortunate you didn't have to rely on movies such as this one for acceptance.This movie was presented from the point of view of Ryan's character which is to be expected since he was the bigger star at the time.
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7/10
ANTI-Gay??? Ridiculous!!!
hokeybutt13 August 2005
PARTNERS (3+ outta 5 stars) Very funny movie... I guess you could basically call it the situation comedy version of "Cruising". In the Al Pacino role of the reluctant undercover cop who has to pretend to be gay is Ryan O'Neal. He is teamed up with Kerwin, an actual gay man (John Hurt) who will help them gain legitimacy as they move into LA's gay community to search for a killer. O'Neal does a nice, light comedy job (and even gets to show off some naked tush) but Hurt really gives this movie some heart as it becomes more and more obvious that he is starting to have tender feelings for his hetero partner. For the life of me I can't understand how people have gotten the idea that this is an ANTI-gay movie? Sure, some the attitudes towards homosexuals and the jokes directed at them are offensive at times... but the movie makes it clear that the people making those remarks are in the wrong! The film's sympathies are definitely with Hurt and not with the gay-bashing cops and their snide comments. As a police story or a mystery the movie is only so-so... but as a smile-inducing buddy movie it hits the bullseye. Scripted and produced by Francis Veber, who created "La Cage Aux Folles" and many other similarly-themed movies in France. The direction might be a little crude and uninspired, but the movie's heart is in the right place.
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9/10
From a straight non-homophobic...funny as hell!
Tom26 November 2011
Stereotypes, how does anyone get them. I've met men and women throughout my life and around the world whom were either shy closet types you'd never know existed, or standing up waving a flag obvious, and everything in between. Some have noted the movie is anti-gay, guess it depends on your attitude and who's watching it, just like anything else. I didn't think it was. To me the movie was a comedy about two reluctant cops balking at crossing orientation lines. And they find out they can work together just fine, co- exist, and the orientation lines blur a bit. I'd tell you my favorite scenes but that would ruin the movie. And except for a guy who's flamboyancy preceded him (funny as hell too), and the guy that used to come to the grocery store in paint, heels, and purse, most of the obvious stereotype stuff is kept indoors in my opinion.

This is a funny and entertaining movie that I went looking for again to add to my collection. If your not afraid of the flamboyant stereotypes and have an open mind you're going to love this movie.
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8/10
pink partners
bgjm_rotterdam15 December 2005
I saw this movie years ago and thought it was a refreshing movie. First of all it got a gay man in it, who doesn't get aids for one time. Although the film uses quite some stereotypic situations used a lot for gays in movies, the film stays respectful towards gay people . Gay myself I could really enjoy this movie about two cops, one straight and one gay. The gay one ( Hurt)has an administration function at the police post and is not at all thrilled to be picked to work together on a gay murder case .Especially not with the other cop ( O'Neal),who on his turn is certainly not thrilled at all to be forced to work with a GAY man. They need to infiltrate into the gay-society and live as a gay couple.Towards the end of the film, both cops are getting to know each other better and gain respect from the other. Eventually they solve the murder case too....Although the film looks obviously dated ,it still is very enjoyable and funny .Even your children could watch it and learn something about prejustice too....
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7/10
Not Such A Bad Movie
ladymidath26 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I remember seeing Partners a few years back and I enjoyed it immensely. It is a little creaky around the edges but that is due to the fact that attitudes towards gays have changed. The movie itself is sweet but tries a little too hard. I think they were trying to show the ugly side of homophobia but it didn't quite come off. Rather it feels like one continuous sniggering gay joke but I don't think that was what was intended at the time. Still it's a fun film if you don't take it too seriously. Ryan O'Neil and John Hurt are fine as are the supporting cast. I would have loved to have seen some of the other characters such as the landlord get a little more screen time. But for all it's flaws, it's not a a bad movie. Just a little dated.
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10/10
this is a comedy
roydmck2 February 2005
Yes that is right- this movie was released as a comedy not a document on gaylife in the 1980's or whatever- I really get tired of all the reviewers who have to read social relevance into every movie about gays that was ever made. 40 or so years ago there were no gay movies - so at least in 1982 we had gays on the screen. This all being said I would not call this a great movie- it is amusing - mostly from the stereotypical gays and gay-jokes that make up the substance of the movie- I rated it a 4 on the scale- I laughed- I spent a pleasant hour or so watching it on video. Nothing earth-shattering but also nothing all that derogatory- it doesn't deserve all the ranting that I have read about it over the years.
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5/10
A cop's life can be pretty 'gay' sometimes!
asyl6 January 1999
John Hurt and Ryan O'Neill as a very odd couple. Kerwin (Hurt) and Benson (O 'Neill) both cops are determined to solve a case together. So far nothing unusual... The problem is the victim is a homosexual living in a gay community and Benson and Kerwin have to investigate undercover. So all they have to do is pretend to be a happy gay couple. For Kerwin not too bad. He is gay. But for Benson... He is as straight as straight gets...

Actual the story of the movie is not the deepest. What made the movie funny for me was the problems Benson had pretending to be a gay man and the development of their "relationship" And really it has some nice gags.
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touching and fun
silken_wings18 July 2003
I think "Partners" is an absolutely sweet movie, well balanced with a great John Hurt and the ending is really, really touching *tissues* ^_~ (and for the record, no I'm not a gay man, I'm a het gurl ^^)
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8/10
Unlikely partnership, forms a bonafide 80's golden comedy
videorama-759-85939127 April 2014
I love this movie every time I see it. Just watching it the other day, gave me cause to watch it again. You breeze through this 93 minute movie, where I really didn't want it to end. Partners, I get the distinct impression, was a very overlooked comedy. Yes it's funny, very much situation wise, but too it has a good backdrop of story, involving a couple of gay murders, which sets off a few new ones too. The plot here was what really impressed me. Homophobic cop, Benson (Ryan O Neal (barely adequate) and gay desk cop, Kerwin (Hurt, fantastic as always) are forced to go undercover as a gay couple, moving into Homoville, where they start to rock some people's boats, and jangle their chains in order to flush out and bait the killer, much the same way Cruisin' was done, where that was just a solo job. One criticism, I did find with the story, well two criticisms. I'll get Hurt's character's one out the way, first. Kerwin has been trying the hide the fact that he is gay, O'Neal's chief (Macmillan) is surprised he's caught on to this fact. It's patent as a black eye. The other criticism is to do with Hurt and O Neal's undercover snooping antics, like having in depth conversations about the murders with gay suburbia folk, and having them not catch on, or not be suspicious of their tones, or q and a methods, was a worry. But put that aside, you guaranteed a laugh night's in. The casting of Hurt and O'Neal, is somewhat bloody fascinating, when you think about, and they bounce well off each other, having to put up with each other's annoying habits, although O Neal doesn't complain about Hurt's cooking. Near the finale, Hurt trying to keep a grip on his tinker toy, while covering O Neal, who's set upon by the killer, is the film's memorably comic high. Jill's a knockout beauty too. Jennifer Ashley is tasty too, as a sexy secretary, down at police headquarters.
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4/10
One watches in a state of numb shock...
moonspinner5525 January 2006
Here's a gay-themed action-comedy that even the gay community has thankfully forgotten, an appalling, tangled mess involving two male Los Angeles police detectives (one straight, one gay) posing as lovers in order to track down a killer of homosexuals. You have to commend Ryan O'Neal, he gives this one-joke affair his best shot; but poor John Hurt (the most sullen gay character ever!) sluggishly performs as if against his will. The plot is promising--it might've been a sharp satire of "Cruising" had the handling been a bit more nimble. But "Partners" has the patched-together feel of too many different hands, and the laziness of the writing and directing sinks the idea almost completely. Sniggering jokes, embarrassing and half-hearted sentiment, and a plea for the understanding of the gay minority turns this tale into one swishy stew. *1/2 from ****
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Unfunny gay comedy
Rrrobert6 July 2002
Eccentric misfire comedy about a macho cop teamed with a meek desk-bound police officer and sent undercover as a gay couple to find the murderer of gay male models. O'Neal's subsequent appearance in full leathers while Hurt's character fusses around the apartment in pink T-shirt and cargo pants provides endless mirth.

Fans of O'Neal's manly physique will not be disappointed, but the coy jokes built on his character's awkwardness at being thrust into the gay scene are weak, puerile, and are not very funny. The murder mystery aspect of the plot is the best thing about the film but it is constantly undermined by the film's habit of switching back into comedy mode whenever the suspense starts the build. And then as if that isn't bad enough, they slot in some cute and thoughtful scenes just to show us that O'Neal's character really is a caring guy after all. Then, despite the fact we have already met his girlfriend, he is straight to bed with whatever woman happens to cross his path.

The general story is also quite sloppy. Characters are introduced to the audience, and then they disappear having fulfilled no greater function than to be the butt of some unfunny joke. Characters such as the effeminate motel owner, Benson's original girlfriend, and the caftan-wearing landlord are given big introductions and then disappear.

What is amazing is that this "snigger at the gays" comedy was produced in 1982! (Australian TV soap operas like 'Number 96', 'The Box', 'Prisoner' had been filled with positive gay and lesbian characters in the *preceding* decade.) It seems more like something from the sixties. Not even interesting as a historical artifact. Avoid.
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Like this movie or not - you'll think differently over the years
jdmartin6115 October 2007
This 46-year-old, (now 47-year-old) lifelong gay native of Fort Worth saw this movie when I was 21 years old. I liked it and I didn't like it even then. Gay what? What is 'gay'? Anyway, I enjoyed many things about this movie just as much as I could complain about just as many more that I didn't like. I think that John Hurt and Ryan O'Neil deserved to be shown better than they were shown in "Partners."

WARNING: What follows is a big rambling digression from my "Partners" comments. (Updated by original poster on Dec. 30, 2008)

______

I had seen the movie "Ode To Billie Joe" with my gay parent and my straight sister when it first came out in 1976. We all had known gay people for many years. In those days, the idea of being 'gay' was still kept private and only spoken of in close circles. Times were evolving then, just as they are still evolving now.

In my experience back in those days, one's own "gayness" was not talked about openly unless they had a desire to tell their story on Television. In the early to mid 1970s a lot of different kinds of people wanted to be on TV or something like that. I do admire those early open pioneers.

Back in the day I remember that 'gayness' (whatever that means) was respected by those who matter. Nobody ever had to make an issue of it, just as I have never done.

Neither my gay parent nor I or anybody else cared to talk about our personal business, and it was good in a way and it still is.

I had always loved the Bobbie Gentry song that inspired the movie since it was released in 1968. I had to see this movie, of course.

I rather understood the idea of Billy Joe's situation and that of the other characters because the story was told from a 1950's rural Mississippi perspective. Later in my life, it was suggested that the end was the particularly offensive part because of a line that was spoken by one of the main characters, and I still agree with that observation. (Though, if the viewer takes into account the locale and time period of the story, the line is actually respectful of the person considering the place and time)

Over My 46 years I've seen a lot of movies with gay characters and the only one I ever respected for that effort is "Victor/Victoria" (1982).

I didn't care too much for "The Birdcage" (1996) in spite of the talented people that participated in the making of the movie. I despised Nathan Lane's character (though Lane later redeemed himself as a gay/?/ man in the cable series "Sex And The City"). To me, the only good thing about "The Birdcage" was Gene Hackman's stellar performance as the conservative U.S. Senator.

In 1973 a wise women said: "Everybody thinks and feels differently as the years go by, don't they"

John Martin, 46, Fort Worth, Texas
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7/10
thick wool sweat socks are hot
copfl2 September 2006
well this movie, with a gay theme, like with all early gay theme movies has to start out somewhere, as their was little to give a historical basis to, other than cruising. we start out with Ryan Oneal when he was at the zenith of being a hot-tie, loved him dressed up with blue jeans, tank top, work boots, and those hot Gray wool boots socks. john hurt played a wimpy clerk/ cop ? , i'll have to watch this again. James re mar, famous for his role in the cult gang movie ' the warriors' plays his 2nd gay character m the 1st being in the movie cruising in his under wear, he was a true hot-tie in his day. this was at the beginning of gay self awakening, big screen, main stream movies. it was a good matinée flick in it's day.
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2/10
Homophobic comedy
ryansternmd30 June 2011
The concept of pairing a heterosexual police detective (Ryan O'Niel) with a gay police department employee (John Hurt) in order to go undercover in the gay community to solve a serial murder case could have been handled with mutual respect. However, throughout the film, the homosexuals portrayed fulfill all homophobic stereotypes. They are depicted as lisping, limp wristed, mincing, pastel wearing comic relief. Meanwhile, the heterosexual police detective is portrayed as a womanizing, promiscuous, skirt chaser to convince the audience that he is 100% heterosexual. All dialog between heterosexual police department employees is homophobic, sympathetic to the undercover detective having to pretend to be a "faggot" and derogatory about the "faggot" gay police department employee. They had three opportunities to save the film. The first is when the undercover police partners are arrested along with a gay they attracted in order to interview. The arresting police refer to the trio as "faggots" and "girls", humiliating the gay character. But, Ryan O'Neil's character does no more than ask for the return of the man's clothes: no personal interaction occurs. In a humorous moment, on his way out of the shared apartment with the doting homosexual partner, Ryan O'Neil instinctively gives a quick peck on his partner's cheek. But, Ryan O'Neil's subsequent reaction is disgust. Near the end of the film, Ryan O'Neil's character is trying to encourage his gay partner (John Hurt) by making empty promises of continuing to live together. But, instead of a "The Crying Game" finding of a new found acceptance by the heterosexual lead of his gay love interest, they end the film by having another character taunt Ryan O'Neil's character by telling him that John Hurt's character had believed his empty promises which immediately causes revulsion in Ryan O'Neil's character. They walk away laughing at the expense of the deceived gay man. This is not a gay positive, acceptance learned dynamic by the main characters. This motion picture is one long "faggots are funny" mockery of gay men. If you are gay friendly, this film will infuriate you and have you checking the year it was released (1982) for some clue as to why the studio would release a homophobic film. We tolerated this homophobia in films released before 1969-1973 because of the philosophy of the general audience. But, for 1982, a homophobic "let's make a comedy about a good looking heterosexual man forced to spend time with faggots!" was not a politically correct decision. Why not make a film about a white cop forced to work with a black cop? They would not have done that: white supremacist dialog mixed with denigrative Black stereotypes would have outraged the audience. But, for this studio, screenwriter, director, producer and cast, "faggots are funny" was their objective. This film will only appeal to people who long for the 'good old days' when gays and lesbians were suppressed and legally humiliated.
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6/10
Still Funny After All These Years
adkturn30 September 2017
After 35 years, what lifts this movie out of the doldrums of caricature and stereotype is the stellar acting of Hurt, O'Neal and McMillan. The cast stretches from the extremes of defiantly gay to aggressively hetero, with Hurt being (for me) the central character who makes the film work. He's always been one of those rare actors who can make a so-so film worth watching, and an average film light years' better.

Screenwriter Veber had no fear of mining the gay lifestyle for laughs here, any more than he did in the classic La Cage Aux Folles 1 & 2. Yet blended into the film is Hurt's tormented Kerwin trying to fit into a straight world by denying his true self, and ending up miserably unhappy anyway. There's a poignancy to his character that gives Partners a seriousness amid all the over-the-top prancing and mincing. O'Neal also rescues Benson from the two dimension, by discovering -- despite his ease and success around the opposite sex -- an emotional depth and devotion to Kerwin that redeems him in the end.

All of which makes Partners worth watching again and again.
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6/10
Undercover gays
bkoganbing5 February 2017
Done with a much lighter touch than Cruising, Partners operates on the same plot premise with the police looking for a serial killer of gay men. Only it's two undercovers that are sent in by the chief played by Kenneth McMillan. One is Detective Sergeant Ryan O'Neal from LAPD homicide. The other is an officer down in records played by John Hurt.

I recently wrote an article about a man I knew back in the 80s who had been a McCarthyite victim because he was gay and fit all the stereotypes. Hurt's character is the same, he operates quietly and unobtrusively no doubt seething inside over the stupid homophobic comments made in front of him. When McMillan picks him for the assignment he feigns surprise.

So the two go undercover in a gay area as a couple and start to mix and mingle. It's actually O'Neal who discovers there's a serial killer that the regular homicide cops missed. That's because he is a cop first and foremost as hard as he is trying to overcome his preconceived notions about gays.

O'Neal and Hurt are fine in the leads. O'Neal looks every bit the hunk he plays. Hurt has the more difficult role and carries it off beautifully.

I was very moved by the other reviewer who identified himself as coming from Bible Belt America and how he saw Partners much differently than LGBT people from the coasts. Sometimes the stereotypes might have been over the top in this and other films, but they validated his existence. I can truly relate to that because in the 60s when I was growing up I had even fewer entertainment role models than he probably had.

Some of the gags misfire and some of the stereotypes are over the top. But Partners is a film with some real relevancy.
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1/10
Homophobic, unfunny and boring. Rightfully forgotten
preppy-328 October 2011
A killer seems to be killing gay male models. The police chief orders str8 Sgt. Benson (Ryan O'Neal) to team up with gay police clerk Kerwin (John Hurt). They're to play a gay couple and find out if anyone in the gay community can help them.

Some people leaving reviews on this site says this film is NOT anti-gay. Oh really? Every single offensive gay stereotype is bought out and presented to the audience to laugh at it. Aside from Hurt ALL the gay men here are sex-obsessed, speak with lisps, are VERY fem or screaming queens. Then the film throws in a sequence where some police officers taunt the guys calling them every offensive name in the book. These officers are shown as being wrong--but that's one small part of a movie that has virtually nonstop homophobic jokes. That doesn't excuse it at all. To make matters worse the murder mystery investigation is very dull and totally uninteresting. By the end I didn't care who was murdering the guys. And even WORSE the movie ends with a homophobic joke at the expense of Hurt! The script is terrible and the direction uninspired. Hurt (understandably) looks miserable all the time. O'Neal manages to give out a good performance despite the material.

Why was this made? It came out in 1982 and it was offensive then and it's even worse today. Critics tore it apart, audiences ignored it and it quickly slipped into oblivion. I believe O'Neal said years later that this movie was a "mistake" and Hurt says he doesn't remember anything about it. That should tell you all you need to know. A sick homophobic piece of garbage. A must miss.
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5/10
Funny, But at whose expense?
HDude27 August 1999
I can see how this may be funny if you laugh at gay jokes. Much too many stereotypical usages in this movie which might make todays gay man feel put down. It seems all the comedy is at the gay communities expense.

Ryan O'Neal made me feel very uncomfortable with the situation his character was in. As a straight cop he has to team up with a gay partner and live undercover in the gay community as a fellow gay person.
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I can't believe this was made in the 1980's
jenmcg26 September 2000
I am very surprised that everyone was not as offended by this film as I was. I will restrain myself and only list a few examples...In the beginning of the film when Benson and Kerwin are partnered, the captain tells Kerwin that he must take the assignment because he's "been living in the closet, and now has to 'fess up." Once on the case, Benson is harassed by an incredibly predatory and effeminate motel employee, and after the situation declares that he now knows what it's like to be a woman, and says "what a nightmare." I stopped counting the number of times that the words "fag" or "faggot" were uttered. With only one day on the job, Benson discovers that mere proximity to "homosexuals" (the nicest word, by far, used in the film to describe gay men) has made him impotent. Please tell me that this film was made in the 1880's and not less than 20 years ago! It is amazing to think that the director went on to direct "Will and Grace" and that the writer wrote "the Birdcage." For me, Burrows and Veber will never do enough penance.
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1/10
Repugnant
waynebeau233 March 2001
Totally repugnant and repulsive. They just don't get any worse than this. This one is to be avoided at all costs. Watch paint dry; watch grass grow instead. Go do your laundry. How else can I put it? This is bad enough to END a career.
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Very dated gay-themed comedy
mnpollio27 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Topical issues, farce and mystery become very strange and reluctant bedfellows in this comedic misfire, which finds macho straight cop Ryan O'Neal and mousy gay police clerk John Hurt sent undercover into the gay community to investigate a string of deaths.

Watching the film now, it functions as an interesting time capsule in how gay culture was viewed in the early 1980s. It is also interesting to note that the film is a thinly disguised comedic take on the then-controversial Al Pacino film Cruising. Given that Cruising was not a hit and even now does not hold a particularly cherished place in the hearts of the most devoted Pacino fan, the logical question is why anyone felt that a lampoon of said film would be a good idea.

Deriders of the film and its stereotypes certainly have their point. The film is brimming over with caricatures of gay men - whether the flamboyantly effeminate or the leather crowd. The comedy is expected to arise from the discomfort experienced by O'Neal - who is depicted as a macho, misogynist homophobe - in being forced to interact with such people, especially living in such close proximity to partner Hurt. Yet for all of the foolish clichés, to say that there is not some dignity present here would be misleading. It pretty much goes without saying that O'Neal will be humanized by his partnership with Hurt and develop sympathy towards the gay community that he previously did not have. The story really has little surprises in regard to the evolution of the characters. It would also be misleading to imply that there are NO laughs. The film does contain a smattering of laughs - certainly not enough to make it a success, but enough to lift above failure status. There is also some sense of satisfaction in watching O'Neal's initially obnoxious chauvinist be put through the ringer. Yet even with that the film really could do with a healthy jolt of energy.

The mystery story is not well thought out and fairly irrelevant. The culprit - as well as those aiding in the plot - are not especially difficult to discern.

In the absence of a particularly interesting caper and only sporadic laughs, one can take some solace in the cast. O'Neal acquits himself well enough as the rugged straight guy suddenly at sea in a world he can barely fathom. He conveys his discomfort well without overdoing it. Plus there is the undeniable titillation factor of O'Neal - still physically in his prime - squeezed into foolish leather outfits and, in the film's most memorable moment, forced by circumstance to strip completely naked in front of a bossy woman and a gay guy. Hurt manages to craft a sympathetic and sometimes amusing character out of the scraps given him by the screenplay. However, since he is depicted as being closeted, not a member of the gay community and not a street cop, one must wonder why exactly the police superiors would have fastened in on him for such an assignment. Kenneth McMillan is amusing as the sardonic police chief.

While not as incredibly awful as some would have you believe, it really has nothing of worth to offer beyond its time capsule qualities. Watch if you must, but don't go in with hopes high.
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Understandably forgotten
Wizard-830 July 2011
This forgotten comedy is a very strange movie. For one thing, it seems to get its inspiration from the Al Pacino movie "Cruising", only this time giving it a comic viewpoint. Maybe it could have worked, but it not only didn't work during its initial release, it doesn't work today. The movie seems to think that 99% of homosexuals are sex crazy and effeminate. While there are probably some homosexuals who are this way, I'm sure most viewers will find this blanket view inaccurate. (And in an odd move, the movie makes no reference to female homosexuals at all, despite the movie being gay-themed.) John Hurt does give a sympathetic performance, one that saves the movie from being bad in every department. The movie is simply unfunny, relying on stereotypes that were old hat even in the early '80s. Also, it's very strange that although the movie attempts to be a comedy, the last half hour of the movie plays out almost completely seriously. The last scene also comes across as a hastily refilmed ending. This is a movie that would never be made today, but in this instance that is a good thing.
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