What would heterosexual filmmakers and scriptwriters do without homosexual panic, the fear of “going faggot” as Stephen King describes it in his minimally panicky and aptly named novella The Body, to make their adolescent comedies? Sometimes it seems like they couldn’t make a move at all, as in turgid teen dramadies like American Pie 2 (or 3, I really can’t remember which) which force ostensibly het young men into comprisingly “gay” positions: in Pie‘s case, forced by two female objects of lust to kiss their (boy)friends — with tongue. The humor depends on the audience’s feelings of disgust at the characters’ experience of humiliation; um, some might say torture.
Director Danny Leiner has another way.
In his cult hit Dude, Where’s My Car?, referenced hilariously in H&K twice, Leiner pits his two male het leads in a kissing contest against Fabio and a bimbette and guess who wins — with tongue? It’s hilarious, it’s a great kiss, and it’s only a non-sequitor if you ignore the affectional basis of all these buddy movies. It’s the subtext that refuses to die and refuses to stay quite so sub. I mean even the movie itself says, self-reflexively: “It’s obvious they’re totally gay for each other.”
“John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg’s politically incorrect, homosexual-panic-embracing screenplay is an equal-opportunity offender in its pursuit of twentysomething comic touchstones…
Well I dunno about that last bit: you’d have to be pretty hung up to be offended by a movie so good-natured and with a lead so cute and open-mouthed. But what exactly happens when you embrace homosexual panic? In Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg’s script it means every ten minutes or so some dude looks at your penis while you’re pissing or sloppily swabs your full brown lips seductively (I’m right there witcha’) or you trim your pubes in your roommate’s room and ask said roommate to inspect your work (a warped queer-eye-for-the-straight-guy moment: “It makes it look bigger!”). And after each incident you either don’t feel particularly creepy or you ignore the incident completely as if it’s all part of your daily life.
Considering how high a rating H&K is getting on IMDB (an average of 7.5 out of over one thousand votes) and the gleeful cackling farted out by all the potheads around me at CN14 this movie will do well and, despite the weird, not-quite-successful sequences like the blue-screened cheetah and the raccoon-puppet, that veer away from what Leiner does best — character-based comedy with an astute if skewed sense of cultural and social dynamics — I feel just fine about that; but I can imagine the folks who wouldn’t be.