Shut Up and Kiss Me (2010)
Director: Devin Hamilton
Writers: Ronnie Kerr
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Duration: 1h 18 min
Stars: Ronnie Kerr, Scott Gabelein, Kindall Kolins
Ben is 35, and single. It’s getting to the point where he’s despairing of ever finding love. He tries everything, from internet dating to going out on blind dates arranged by his friend Callie; and then, with the logic of a porn film, it turns out that the guy who’s been jogging past his house every day secretly fancies him. Understandably, he’s a bit overwhelmed, but he stays calm and sets about laying the groundwork for what he hopes will be a lasting relationship. The problem is, he and his new beau have very different ideas of what a relationship involves.
Shut Up & Kiss Me was made for less that $16,000 and it shows. The lighting is often poor, making domestic scenes look stagey. The editing suffers from an evident lack of cut-away material, but for all that, it’s not a bad effort. A patchy script is impressive where it works and the sometimes stilted delivery is balanced by a convincing emotional performance from Kerr (as Ben). It’s an interesting attempt to blend the gay relationship genre with the mainstream romcom, and Ben’s close friendships with straight people, very naturally drawn, allow for discussions about contemporary masculinity and what men are expected to want, with Ben an interesting sort of rebel in his commitment to more old fashioned values.
Ben, you see, assumes that sexual fidelity is essential in any meaningful relationship. Unfortunately, new boyfriend Grey (Scott Gabelein) feels differently. The script works hard to avoid making moral judgements about this – they are simply different, but nevertheless it’s hard for them to make things work around this. Grey’s protests that he can’t help himself seem uncomfortably insincere where a simple assertion that he felt unhappy in a monogamous relationship might be understandable. Because Gabelein isn’t as strong an actor and all the emotional weight lies with Ben, we are left feeling that the latter is being blackmailed into something he can never really be comfortable with. There’s a lot of repetition around these themes yet the more interesting questions that arise go unexplored.
Stylistically, the film makes an effort to find its own voice and has a bit more personality than many romcoms. Cut-aways where Ben explains what certain terms mean are a bit hit and miss (and misleading when it comes to trans issues) and seem like a curious attempt to reach the straight market, though how the bedroom scenes will go down with those viewers is uncertain – true to form, there’s rather more flesh on show here than you’d expect in a Jennifer Lopez flick. That said, it’s also tamer than much gay genre output and is strictly for those whose prime interest lies in the drama.
This is Kerr’s first feature as a scriptwriter and it suggests that he may have interesting things to say when he’s had a bit more time to develop. It’s not in itself a film you’ll want to develop a relationship with, and it’s unlikely to inspire much passion, but there are many worse ways to spend an evening.
- Director: Devin Hamilton
- Writers:Ronnie Kerr
- Genres:Comedy, Romance
- Runtime:78 minutes
- Actors:BenRonnie KerrGreyScott GabeleinCallieKindall KolinsVinnie (as Joey Russo)Joseph RussoBradNate ScholzSara (as Jennifer Jones)Jenn JonesJamesIsaac BrantnerRoyDavid MorettiDating Service Lady (as Fia S. Perera)Fia PereraTomDylan Vox
A modern day take on the trials and tribulations of dating. We follow Ben as he faces the world of dating as a 35 year old who is looking for more then sex. After testing out different routes and adventures, he stumbles across Grey. The chemistry between the two is instant, but what happens when you meet someone who doesn't share the same beliefs about relationships that you do? This funny and touching film touches on relevant topics in today's society including sexual monogamy, Serodiscordant relationships and can someone really have it all? Written by Ronnie Kerr, this film is an autobiographical look at his life.- Written by George Smith