May not stir hearts and minds, but it moves smartly and delivers outrageous one-liners.
There’s nothing innovative or particularly noteworthy in “Violet Tendencies,” Casper Andreas’ Gotham-set saga of a fat, 40-year-old “fag hag’s” search for love. But Andreas, working from Jesse Archer’s reductive script, knows how to pump energy into tired ideas and turn twinkly stereotypes into high-camp icons. The result may not stir hearts and minds, but it moves smartly and delivers outrageous one-liners with rapid-fire efficiency, particularly in the hands of “Facts of Life” veteran Mindy Cohn, who tosses off vulgarisms with seasoned aplomb. NewFest’s closing-nighter should satisfy rather than expand Andreas’ fanbase.Violet (Cohn) is the life of the party, but once her gay pals have paired off and left, she’s flying strictly solo. She dreams of her soulmate, the mythical stag hag, but will settle for a run-of-the-mill heterosexual. None of her confidants know any available straight guys, and her blind dates, via the Frisky Friends dating service, prove fruitless exercises in humiliation. Desperate, Violet seeks advice from Salome (Kim Allen), the thin, none-too-bright model at the fashion firm where she works. Salome counsels Violet to lose her queer friends and dress more sexily (it seems her velvet cat suit with ears is a nonstarter). Salome is not the only hetero to urge “New York’s oldest fag hag” to dump her near and dear. Frisky Friends sets her up with the unfrisky Vern (Armand Anthony), a sober Midwesterner who really digs her — or at least, digs who he thinks she is. Under Vern’s moral tutelage, Violet wraps herself in shapeless hausfrau garb, feigns interest in Vern’s ruling passion (watching the lighting change on architectural columns), fakes missionary-position orgasms and neglects her longtime buddies. Cohn struggles to eke laughs from this indifferent material. Meanwhile, multiple dramas roil in Violet’s erstwhile stomping ground. Pic reprises two characters from Andreas and Archer’s former collaborations, “Slutty Summer” and “A Four Letter Word”: Andreas himself again portrays Marcus, who here finally finds a stable lover in Violet’s friend/co-worker Riley (Samuel Whitten). But a babysitting gig makes Marcus crave fatherhood, to Riley’s consternation, providing several good yuks as the couple considers adoptive parenthood. Archer’s own recurring character, the still-slutty Luke, breaks up with b.f. Damian (Adrian Armas) when the latter demands fidelity, but Luke soon pines for the monogamous hunk he rejected. Luke’s orgiastic attempts to forget his ex merely refurbish old scenes with slightly newer gags. Cohn wisely refrains from telegraphing pathos in Violet. Instead, she brilliantly exploits her character’s comfortable, matter-of-fact immersion in the gay scene, rendering Violet hilariously clueless about what straight society deems acceptable. Sadly, pic fails to deliver a complementary gay-clueless character in Vern.