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Bobby is a gay man in the closet in 2003, afraid to come out to his three older brothers, even though he's at least 30 and is being pressed by his sister, his boyfriend, and his lesbian beard to tell the lads. The death of his father and a fishing trip with his brothers provide occasions when he could tell them, but he fails. When he screws his courage to the sticking point, how will they react, and how will he deal with their reactions? He imagines a movie of his rather boring life - surrounded by possibilities - but can anything overcome the insular narrow-mindedness of a big Irish Catholic family in Chicago? Written by
OUTING RILEY may feel a bit self serving, as though Bobby Riley, the main character of the film, is sitting in a Confessional Booth revealing his secret, and in fact that is certainly the case as the film was conceived, lived, written, directed and stars Pete Jones as Bobby. This may account for some of the awkward sense of some of the dialog: it is difficult to be up front about an issue with a history as embedded as the theme of this film. But despite these minor flaws, this little film has a heart of gold and a cast of actors who bring it to life in a good way.
Bobby Riley (Pete Jones) is an Irish Catholic closeted gay man living in Chicago with his partner Andy (Michael McDonald). Bobby is being pressured by Andy and by his informed sister Maggie (Julie Pearl) to come out to his family - a good Irish Catholic family of four brothers, a sister, and a dying father (Bob Riley). His facade with his brothers is a mime of voyeurism of 'chicks' and a beer drinking butch life. Each family member has a secret: Maggie can't hold a relationship and is unable to keep secrets; Connor (Stoney Westmoreland) is addicted to internet porn; Jack (Dev Kennedy) is a priest who has problems with the conflicts the church places on his own beliefs; Luke (the always outstanding Nathan Fillion) is a pothead. Once Maggie decides she must out Bobby, the brothers are conflicted: homophobia raises its ugly head despite the bonds of close family ties. How the family comes to grips with Bobby's being gay, individually and as a family, is the crux of the tale.
This is a fine cast (especially Fillion and Pearl) and the story rolls along at a fine pace. At times it feels 'dishonest' but that is in the script, not the acting. This is not a major film, but it just may be a helpful one to families and friends who are curious about the lifestyle of someone who has surprised them with a similar secret! Grady Harp
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