DVD Review - Daddy (2016)

This is the adaptation of the play by Dan Via, first staged in New York in 2010. It concerns two, gay men of a certain age, in their 40's who both face changes in their lives. One of them has to handle a new relationship that ultimately gets only a superficial touch and then is strangely brushed aside. The filmmakers concede that more attention belonged to the old relationship between the two men, rather than the new relationship, but this is the movie's mistake. Via not only wrote the piece but he also co-stars as one of the two, older, gay men, and the path of the story reeks of him wanting more for himself. Gerald McCullouch stars as the other of the two and also acts as director of the movie. As a friend to Via, it also reeks possibly of McCullouch not denying screen time to Via when Via's subplot could have been extracted completely.

In the gay community, the word "daddy" is a description of a hot guy of a certain age, a man who is old enough to be a father but who isn't actually one's father. Yet, that older man is deemed to be highly attractive, in great shape, handsome and hirsute, even if that means sporting gray hairs. In many ways, it's sexual in its meaning or flirtatious in the least, but it's not unique to the gay community. It's been written how heterosexual women have referred to their male loves as "daddy" or if you're Hispanic, "papi." It's a term of endearment in that way.

Obviously, there is an incestuous connotation to it and it can be traced back to Sigmund Freud and his Oedipus Complex. This movie in a way explores this connotation. However, it doesn't nearly go far enough. It doesn't really confront the issue head-on. It doesn't confront why some, young, gay men have what Michael C. LaSala in Psychology Today calls a "reverse-Oedipal complex" or why some, older, gay men have the tendency to want to take on the role of father-figure. This movie essentially points it out but abruptly abandons it.

There aren't too many films that directly deal with the issue of incest and the incestuous connotations that most, if not all people employ. So many love songs, even from straight people, have lyrics referring to their partners as "baby," and how they want to make love or have sex with his or her "baby." Obviously, it's not literal, but, answering or exploring the question, while putting aside the perversity of pedophilia, of why people use a term with such incestuous connotations could have made this movie potentially great, but instead the movie drops the ball.

Jaime Cepero co-stars as Thaddeus Bloom aka Tee, the young black man who starts dating McCullouch's Colin McCormack, the host of a talk show in Pittsburgh, not unlike CNN's Crossfire. Tee perhaps has the reverse-Oedipal complex. Yet, we're never really allowed in his head. Cepero gives a great performance of a young guy with abandonment issues and handling a kind of guilt and shame, stemming from being raised around southern, homophobic values, as well as missteps on his part.

However, when those missteps or issues are exposed, the film runs away from them. It's almost as if the filmmakers merely wanted to shock the audience with how crazy those missteps and issues are, and then let them go like a hot potato. It's a natural response, but after a brief cool down, the movie should have picked them up again. The movie skirts around the relationship between Colin and Tee after those missteps and issues are exposed. It lands on the relationship between Colin and Stewart who is the character played by Via.

That relationship though is no where near as interesting as that between Colin and Tee. Yet, the movie ends on Colin and Stewart, watching a basketball game or something, and it's a big "who cares." McCullouch is such a great actor. He is also very handsome and charming, and taking on challenging material is what I'd love to see more of, but this one falls a little short.

Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 28 mins.

Comments

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  2. Hi,
    I liked your review. This being said, and this being a "DVD" review... how was the image? How was the sound? And, most important of all: are there extras on the DVD?

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