Review: ‘Just Say Love’

The cliches supporting this simple romance grow glaringly obvious.

Even the least cinematic stage-to-screen translations can be valuable for preserving the vitality of a text or a memorable production. But little demands preservation in David J. Mauriello’s 2005 play, “Just Say Love,” whose small virtues would play best in an intimate live venue. Recorded for posterity, the cliches supporting this simple romance grow glaringly obvious, despite decent handling. Theatrical play on a Here/Regent triple bill of gay features (also including “Dream Boy” and “Manuela and Manuel” will briefly prelude home-rental life.

Reading Joseph Campbell on a park bench, shy Guy (Matthew Jaeger) is suddenly joined by swarthy, muscular construction worker Doug (Robert Mammana), who has a woman, a baby on the way … and a desire for oral servicing, now. Ongoing “no strings, no love” liaisons ensue. Yet pale, sensitive, spiritual, artistic Guy can’t help falling for this equally stereotypical rough-trade hunk, leading to a ludicrously tidy wish-fulfillment resolution. Thesps are more than able; Bill Humphreys’ direction avoids stasis during blackout-separated scenes on a minimally dressed soundstage a la “Dogville.” But for all the dialogue’s earnest, even philosophically lofty sentiments, “Just Say No” remains at core a bogus fantasy.

Just Say Love

Production

A Here Films/Regent release of a Stagewright Films and Funny Boy Films presentation of a Stagewright production. Produced by Bill Humphreys. Executive producers, David J. Mauriello, Kirkland Tibbels. Co-producers, Tyler Heon, Bradshaw Branch. Directed by Bill Humphreys. Screenplay, Humphreys, David J. Mauriello, adapted from the play by Mauriello.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-DigiBeta), Nathan Beaman; editor, BBTFilms; music, Hans Indigo Spencer; production designers, Michael Minahan, Julian Mitchell. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, March 24, 2010. Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Matthew Jaeger, Robert Mammana.
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