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Boystown (DVD Review)

19 Oct, 2008 By: Laura Tiffany


Street 10/28/08
$19.99 DVD
Not rated.

Boystown is a heartfelt, sweet comedy about a serial killer stalking little old ladies in an up-and-coming gay neighborhood in Madrid. A strange mix to be sure, but one that’s buoyed by its charming lead actors.

In Chueca (Boystown), slimy real estate agent Victor (Pablo Puyol) harasses old ladies to sell their flats so he can revamp the neighborhood as a gentrified, upper-class gay paradise. Ray (Carlos Fuentes) and Leo (Pepón Nieto), a burly gay couple, inherit their next-door neighbor’s apartment after Victor whacks her; they’re also considered suspects for the crime. Matters worsen when Ray’s mother — a harpie who microwaves her daughter’s cat and then turns her hatred to Leo — moves in and starts plotting to split the couple, taking cruel advantage of the suspicions surrounding Leo. The couple’s likeable best friend, Lola, and a mother-and-son cop duo round out the cast.

While some characters — Ray’s mother, in particular — are shrilly over-the-top, Fuentes and Nieto anchor this dark comedy. These normal, tubby, schlubby guys have a love that’s sweet, passionate and realistic. The serial-killer plot is never a mystery; the suspense lies in when everyone else will figure out the slick man in the tailored suit is a murderous gerontophobe. In fact the best parts of the flick are whenever Victor — and his cruel violence — aren’t on screen. What holds this comedy together is the mix of romance, comedy and fun, likeable characters.

While Boystown won’t score any points for deepness, the black-hearted comedy is a welcome respite from the angst found in many gay films. These characters face prejudice, even from people with the same sexual orientation, but that’s not the focus — these are just everyday people living their lives, going through a rough patch, and trying to avoid a serial killer. Anyone with a penchant for dark and/or foreign comedies and an open mind will enjoy this farce.

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