DVD Review - BearCity
|Joe Conti & Gerald McCullouch from "BearCity"|
Tyler has a secret. It's not that he's gay, which is a definite factoid that he doesn't hide. Tyler's secret is that he loves bears. He isn't like Timothy Treadwell from Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man. He likes the other kind of bears.
This is not a movie about the four-legged animals known by their latin name Ursus americanus. This is about a subculture within the gay male community where the more hair on your face and body and generally the larger your weight and mass, the more sexually attrative you are.
Unfortunately, there is this stereotype and prejudice that in order to be attractive you have to be thin or ripped with muscles. This is especially true in some enclaves within Manhattan where this movie is set. Tyler realizes this, so it presents him a problem when hanging out with his friend, Simon.
Yes, they're both gay. Yes, they both like men, but their preferences in such are arguably, drastically different, so much so that Tyler feels alienated. Therefore, Tyler hides from Simon that he likes bears.
Tyler goes to a gay bar called the Ramrod where bears frequent. There, he meets Fred, a cameraman who tells him that for young gay men who like bears, they have to come out the closet twice. Fred says, "It's one thing to say Brad Pitt's hot, but try saying you want a mouthful of John Goodman."
Aspiring actor Tyler, played by Joe Conti, eventually meets and falls in love with Roger, played by Gerald McCullouch. Roger is what's known as a daddy bear. He's a beautiful man who's slightly middle-aged but in shape. He loves shopping for sex toys and playing bowling. Tyler who isn't older than 21 gets closer to Roger via his friends.
Tyler finds that befriending bears is not difficult. Many bears are teddy bears, warm and welcoming. Brian Keane plays Fred, the bald-headed but thick-bearded, cameraman bear. Stephen Guarino plays Fred's hus-bear, Brent. There's Michael, the biggest bear in the group, and his partner, Carlos, an Hispanic bear, played by James Martinez. Yet, there's all kinds of other bears. There's Spanish bears, glam bears, leather bears, care bears and polar bears.
Films have featured these kinds of bears before. Bear Cub (2004) from Spain was the first example I saw. Bear Run (2008) and Bear Nation (2010) were two documentaries that aired on LOGO were the other examples. This movie though is the first American movie to do a scripted story that makes being a bear or makes liking bears the central issue.
The actors here, which include a range of New York actors, a few established ones from TV and the Broadway stage, are all wonderfully natural. Writer-director Doug Langway moves and edits this all wonderfully natural as well. For a comedy about big, hairy men, it's surprisingly not coarse or rough at all but flawlessly romantic and beautiful.
Five Stars out of Five.
Not Rated But Recommended for Mature Audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 45 mins.