Review: ‘My Life as a Troll’

It's hard to say what's more forlorn -- Dominick Brascia's closeted gay stand-up comic Louie, or Brascia's movie about Louie's stumbles toward self-respect, "My Life as a Troll." The fine line between pathos and deflating self-pity is ignored, so that what could be a comedy is just a string of awkwardly written and staged scene.

It’s hard to say what’s more forlorn — Dominick Brascia’s closeted gay stand-up comic Louie, or Brascia’s movie about Louie’s stumbles toward self-respect, “My Life as a Troll.” The fine line between pathos and deflating self-pity is ignored, so that what could — and by all rights should — be a comedy is just a string of awkwardly written and staged scenes about how lonely and misunderstood Louie feels, and how his pals do or don’t help him out. Pic’s thoroughly homemade quality never charms, and its obviousness will damper curiosity on the gay fest rounds.

Fresh from New York but successful enough to have his own HBO special and stints on “The Tonight Show,” Louie is good (though from what’s on display here, not of HBO caliber) at his craft, but hopelessly shy about his love life. Best friend Steven (David Chisum), with love problems of his own, is straight but takes Louie to gay hangouts for encouragement; but since Steven has a model’s good looks, he’s hit upon more than the overweight comic. There are many chances here for observant humor about gay standards of beauty, but they’re constantly fumbled.

My Life as a Troll

Production

A Starfire Prods. presentation. Produced by Philip Angelotti, Dominick Brascia, Andy Comeau. Executive producers, Janine Angelotti, Dominick Brascia Sr., Lawrence Folgo. Directed, written by Dominick Brascia.

Crew

Camera (color), Aaron Kirsch; editor, Michael Mulhern; music, Jim and Elizabeth Morgan; set designer, Mindy Koskovich; art director, Vanessa Licata; costume designer, Rory Cunningham. Reviewed on videotape, L.A., July 21, 2001. (In Outfest.) Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Dominick Brascia, David Chisum, Tava Smiley, Kevin Castro, Damon Shalit, Kerri Kasem, Bobby Johnston, Corey Feldman.
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