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Gypsy Boys

Busy giving gypsies a bad name are the titular characters in "Gypsy Boys," who resemble Romany persons only in their wandering ways -- albeit from bed to bed, rather than country to country. "Slutty Boys" would be more like it. A free-floating ensemble piece set among denizens of San Francisco's gay-male clubland, feature is pretty much the equivalent of a one-night stand: fun, superficial, libido-propelled and easily forgotten.

With:
With: Adam Gavzer, Robert Hampton, Tom McCann, Jud Parker, Alberto Rosas, Zeke Wheeler, Andrew Abelson, Matt Boucher, Greg Crandall, Steve Rodriguez, Corey Schafer, Matthew Williamson, LeGerald Normand, Jason White, Trevor Hale, Bryan Keller, Anderson Lim, Jorge Cordoba, A.J. Vernet.

Busy giving gypsies a bad name are the titular characters in “Gypsy Boys,” who resemble Romany persons only in their wandering ways — albeit from bed to bed, rather than country to country. “Slutty Boys” would be more like it. A free-floating ensemble piece set among denizens of San Francisco’s gay-male clubland, low-budget feature is pretty much the equivalent of a one-night stand: fun, superficial, libido-propelled and easily forgotten. Prospects are decent for urban niche bookings.

Large character scroll is composed of attractive twentysomethings living in and around S.F.’s Castro neighborhood. Though they’re a somewhat mixed lot ethnically, nary a significant woman pal surfaces; nor does anyone appear to have a job demanding enough to prevent him from partying like there’s no tomorrow all weekend long.

Half dozen or so major figures are pretty much divided into two camps: those pining for pair-bond domesticity, and those too giddily immersed in the “so many men, so little time” school of drive-by involvement to desire serious romance. Of course, the former bunch are all stuck on faithless cuties from the latter.

Thus Manuel (Alberto Rosas) is frustrated by his platonic relationship with Aaron (Zeke Wheeler), who loves him but is in love with visiting Brit Noel (Andrew Abelson). Loyal Steven (Adam Gavzer) wishes his sometimes-carnal friendship with handsome Blair (Jud Parker) could turn to real commitment; Blair, however, has an incorrigible roving eye.

David (Robert Hampton) has battled melancholia since his erstwhile b.f. moved out to sow wild oats. General-purpose sidekick Kevin (Tom McCann) keeps glimpsing an elusive blond dreamboat (Greg Crandall) whom he fantasizes about in several mildly funny sequences.

Taking a break for sun, exercise or hangover recovery during daylight hours, these characters intersect during three consecutive nights out: Friday at a crowded bar, Saturday at a party in David’s apartment, and Sunday at a dance club. Things work out rather predictably.

Writer-director Brian Shepp turns a lightly critical eye on the downsides to this hedonistic scene (drug/alcohol overuse, short-attention-spanned insensitivity toward friends), though “Gypsy Boys” is hardly as pointed on that score as Roland Tec’s scathing “All the Rage.” Instead, it mostly celebrates the joie de vivre of urban gay life. Effect is always diverting, and even charming at times (as when one temporarily fulfilled lad in a cafe looks around and sighs, “My God — everyone’s so cute this morning!”), but would be more so if the view wasn’t so insular. Nearly all lead characters are model-handsome and lack depth; less gorgeous specimens are invariably deployed as comic relief.

Script’s attempts at snappy banter (e.g., “How do you have such a great butt? It’s just not fair!”) could be a lot sharper. But pic juggles its myriad seriocomic strands painlessly, with capable pacing and lensing (latter sometimes grainy in 35mm blowup). Perfs are agreeable, soundtrack expectedly crammed with club tracks.

Gypsy Boys

Production: An Another B.S. Production production. Produced by Brian Shepp. Co-producer, Jason Blumenfeld. Directed, written by Brian Shepp.

Crew: Camera (color, 16mm-to-35mm), Gary Rohan; editor, Rick Lobo; music, Rich McCracken; music coordinators, Shane Gallagher, Jophrey Yves-Bishop, sound, John Detwiler; costumes, Scott Hoover; associate producer, Stacey Lee; assistant director, Brad Marshland; casting, Chris Leader. Reviewed at AMC Kabuki 8, San Francisco, Dec. 14, 1999. (In S.F. Independent Film Festival.) Running time: 103 MIN.

With: With: Adam Gavzer, Robert Hampton, Tom McCann, Jud Parker, Alberto Rosas, Zeke Wheeler, Andrew Abelson, Matt Boucher, Greg Crandall, Steve Rodriguez, Corey Schafer, Matthew Williamson, LeGerald Normand, Jason White, Trevor Hale, Bryan Keller, Anderson Lim, Jorge Cordoba, A.J. Vernet.

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