Review: ‘Leather Jacket Love Story’

You couldn't drown a gnat in the shallow depths of "Leather Jacket Love Story ," a twink-meets-hunk romance that does not exactly suggest L.A. as an intellectual nexus for gay life. Even on their own airhead terms, the filmmakers forgot something important: When you're this stupid, one must be verrrry pretty.

You couldn’t drown a gnat in the shallow depths of “Leather Jacket Love Story ,” a twink-meets-hunk romance that does not exactly suggest L.A. as an intellectual nexus for gay life. Even on their own airhead terms, the filmmakers forgot something important: When you’re this stupid, one must be verrrry pretty.

That saving grace does not avail Sean Tataryn, who can’t stop twitching and squinting in an apparent attempt at doe-like innocence as blond Valley boy Kyle. (It is also disturbing that his helmet-like hair underlines a resemblance to Siegfried, of & Roy fame.)

Having moved into the big city before starting college, 18-year-old Kyle hangs out at the Silverlake Cafe, where his writerly aspirations are fueled by Mondo Poetry readings, and he’s taken under wing by a trio of drag queens. He also develops a fast relationship with studly, goateed professional roofer Mike (Christopher Bradley), who is 30 — a fact the movie seems to regard with stupefied import. But that age difference can’t fully explain why these characters act like such nitwits, let alone why nobody behind the camera seems to notice, or care.

Suffice it to say that Kyle’s purchase of a leather jacket just like Mike’s is probably the most profound dramatic event here — after his climactic poetry reading (“Your touch remembers its careful way over the map of my body”). In between, clingy Kyle nags commitment-shy Mike about monogamy. Then he sees Mike talking to another guy — so Kyle heads off to group sex at the bathhouse. Huh?

Best not to look too hard for logic, or anything else requiring gray matter, in these 85 minutes. Some interesting Hollywood scenesters (’70s TV staple Arlene Golonka, John Waters vet Mink Stole) turn up, but the only performer to emerge unembarrassed by the terrible writing is Bradley, whose conventional professionalism benefits from loads of flattering contrast. A couple of sexscenes are surprisingly graphic; competent B&W photography is best element in direct-to-vid vet David DeCoteau’s low-budget tech package.

Leather Jacket Love Story

Production

A Leather Jacket Prods. presentation. Produced by Jerry Goldberg. Executive producer, Bruce Baker. Directed by David DeCoteau. Screenplay, Rondo Mieczkowski.

Crew

Camera (B&W, 16mm) , Howard Wexler; editor, Jeffrey Schwarz; production design, Jeannie Lomma; art direction, Brian Virwani; set decoration, Jeffrey Morris; costumes, Edward Hibbs; sound, Jack Lindauer; associate producer, John Williamson; assistant director, Jerome Gibson. Reviewed at Roxie Cinema, San Francisco, June 3, 1997. (In S.F. Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.) Running time: 85 MIN.

With

With: Christopher Bradley (Mike), Sean Tataryn (Kyle), Geoff Moody, Hector Mercado, Mink Stole, Arlene Golonka, Nicholas Worth, William Butler, Madame Dish , Erin Krystle, Craig Olsen, Momma, Ruby Tuesday, Moist Towelette.
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