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Javier De Pietro,
ALL THE RAGE takes a satirical and poignant look at one gay man's obsessive pursuit of physical, sexual, and romantic perfection. Christopher Bedford is everyone's fantasy. He's gorgeous, young, clever, rich, and above all, totally buffed and every boy in Boston seems to want him. At thirty-one, he's gliding through life, celebrating himself as the 90's gay playboy ideal, without ever realizing what a mess he's become. Written by
There really isn't any reason at all to hate Chris...or is there? He of the strong jaw, sculpted physique, high-paying job and high-rent apartment is wanted by every guy in town, and he knows it. As proof, he has the "little black box" stuffed full of phone numbers. So what if he'll never use any of them? They're just trophies; notches on his belt. That doesn't make him a bad person, does it? It's just that there's always another guy, just waiting to be bumped into, at the gym, in a bar, on the street or who knows where. So when Chris begins falling for Stewart - who's cute but not gorgeous, doesn't work out and is a little bit shy - his friends may be surprised, but no one's more surprised than Chris himself.
Well, that's the premise, and I'm afraid it's all the good news there is. What could have been a sweet, if derivative, story is hobbled by mannered, stagey performances (with the exception of David Vincent as Stewart), uncertain direction and an 11th-hour plot turn that comes out of nowhere.
If this film is sending any message, it seems to be, "We rich, beautiful people experience pain, too - when, for the first time in our lives, something doesn't work out the way we want it to," but it also appears that writer-director Roland Tec is indulging in a little dramatic score-settling. Who among we mortals hasn't wanted to see that full-of-himself "has it all" guy get brought down a peg or two? But the overwrought denouement which seeks to bring this about belongs in another film entirely.
The narrative is punctuated throughout by little "confessionals" in arty black & white (which sometimes go on waaaaaay too long) wherein, addressing the viewer, Chris muses about himself, and what he wants in a man and...well, that's about it. If these interludes are meant to garner sympathy for the character, they fail. If, on the other hand, they're meant to point up his shallowness and self-absorption, they do quite nicely. "I'm not an a**hole," Chris assures us. To paraphrase Bette Davis, but ya ARE, Chris. Ya ARE an a**hole.
Although unsatisfying, ALL THE RAGE is far from the worst gay-themed film you'll ever see (that raspberry still goes, for my money, to "The Last Year"), but there isn't any compelling reason to see it in the first place, either. Of course, you can't know that until you have seen it, but you could just take my word for it.
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