(*homocinematically inclined)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reel Thoughts: I Do, I Do

Not to be confused with “jumping the shark,” that indelible moment when a TV show goes horribly and irrevocably wrong, “jumping the broom” refers to a slave ritual that signified marriage at a time when they were forbidden to wed.

The popular Logo series Noah’s Arc has definitely not jumped the shark with their new full-length film version, titled Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom(now available on DVD). Creator/writer/director/producer Patrik-Ian Polk has reunited the original cast in a timely story of the trials and tribulations of the gay marriage between Noah (Darryl Stephens) and his closeted beau Wade (Jensen Atwood). Set in the frosty off-season in beautiful Martha’s Vineyard, Wade has invited Noah’s friends to witness their marriage, but has neglected to tell his straight-laced mother (the always-wonderful Tonya Pinkins). Wade is also not “feeling the love” from any of Noah’s pals, Alex (Rodney Chester), the mother hen of the “bride,” jealous man-tramp Ricky (Christian Vincent) and the usually calm Chance (Douglas Spearman).

Despite the happy occasion, all of the relationships — serious and casual — are cracking under various pressures. Alex is busy popping caffeine pills to get the festivities done right, while Ricky is ignoring Brandon (Gary LeRoi Gray), the young guy he brought who also turns out to be Chance’s adoring student. This infatuation infuriates Chance’s lover Eddie (Jonathan Julian), while Wade is steamed that Noah is being chased by a closeted rapper, Baby Gat (an indescribably crazy Jason Steed).

The film (recently nominated for a GLAAD Media Award and three NAACP Image Awards) feels like an African-American version of 3-Day Weekend with sometimes-shaky acting, but engrossing takes on monogamy, masculine/feminine stereotypes and sex as a way of avoiding self-discovery. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll enjoy catching up with the boys, and if you’ve never seen Noah’s Arc before, you’ll enjoy Jumping the Broom’s combination of sweetness and sexiness, as well as its hunky cast. An added bonus is seeing Phoebe Snow sing at the end, although I’m not telling whether or not the knot gets tied!

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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