VOD Review - BearCity 2: The Proposal

What writer-director Doug Langway brilliantly does is explore various angles of mature gay men who are at a point when thoughts of weddings start to arise, while interjecting the politics of same-sex marriage being more legalized in this country. At the same time, he also continues his inside-look at the subculture of the gay community, known as "bears." A bear is a gay man who is overweight or bulky, mostly due to fat or also due to large muscle, and who has a lot of facial and body hair, but having that be the object of desire or standard of male beauty.

Two of the characters in what is now an ensemble cast talk about the many documentaries about the bear community. Filmmaker Kevin Smith was in one such documentary and has a cameo here, which was a nice nod. In his documentary, it's noted that the bear community grew out of being rejected by the gay community. The bear community almost makes obesity a fetish, which the gay community does not.

The gay community instead lusts after the skinny, lean or sculpted-model types, the kind of men you'd find in Calvin Klein or Abercrombie & Fitch ads. There are plenty of men in the gay community who don't fit that mold and who don't live in gyms working out all the time and waxing their chests. For those big and hairy men, they got to Provincetown, Massachusetts, during Bear Week, which is the setting of the movie.

The problem is that within the bear community, there has been a divide, which flies in the face of the non-judgmental and non-discriminatory nature that the bear community is supposed to have. The bear community is seemingly all about the acceptance of all body types, particularly the big and hairy. The divide comes is that the preference goes to the big guys who are muscular, if not all muscle, and not simply the overweight guys. Often guys who are white, and often guys of a certain age are more preferred too. Langway realizes this and doesn't shy away from addressing it, particularly at a poolside scene.

Joe Conti returns as Tyler, the bear cub who is in a relationship with Roger, the daddy or polar bear, played by Gerald McCullouch. They live in Manhattan and have reached a plateau. Roger is not as young as Tyler. Theirs is a May-December romance where the age gap doesn't seem to be a problem but might actually be one. Roger's solution is simple but to Tyler it's scary.

Brian Keane and Stephen Guarino return as Fred and Brent. Fred is an aspiring filmmaker, but he's more laid-back and shy. Brent is the more loud and fierce one. He's certainly more aggressive, whereas Fred is not. They're nicknamed Bert and Ernie, a la Sesame Street.

Gregory Gunter and James Martinez also return as Michael and Carlos. Michael is somewhere between Harvey Fierstein and Bruce Vilanch. Carlos is the love of Michael's life who is just a Hispanic, blue-collar beefcake. Michael is producing a play. Carlos is starting a bar. Both have the issue of spending too much time on their mobile smartphones.

Kathy Najimy plays Rose, the mom of Brent who has a home in Provincetown where the three couples come to stay. She's essentially playing the role of Mindy Cohn in Violet Tendencies or that of Mink Stole in the Eating Out films by Q. Allan Brocka.

The movie has great drama and romance as before, as well as some funny jokes, most delivered by Guarino, the clear comic relief. There are also a lot of physical humor including a speed boat incident and a foam and bubble party that was fun.

Five Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 53 mins.


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