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Totally Confused

Awalk on the mild side, "Totally Confused" charts a bisexual blip on the developmental radar of three young Chicagoans. Amiable but not particularly sharp in its humor and observations, indie feature looks likelier to serve its neophyte talents as a calling card than to win much theatrical exposure beyond home turf.

With:
Johnny ..... Greg Pritikin Wiley ..... Gary Rosen Annie ..... Jackie Katzman Cindy ..... Heather Donaldson Alistair ..... Derek Hasenstab Murray ..... Duane Sharp

Awalk on the mild side, “Totally Confused” charts a bisexual blip on the developmental radar of three young Chicagoans. Amiable but not particularly sharp in its humor and observations, indie feature looks likelier to serve its neophyte talents as a calling card than to win much theatrical exposure beyond home turf.

Nebbishy bookstore clerk Wiley (Gary Rosen) collects porn both hetero and gay in a so-far useless attempt to figure out just where his libido lies. Best friend and record-store flunky Johnny (Greg Pritikin) has a new live-in g.f., squeamish veterinary-school student Annie (Jackie Katzman). He’s otherwise busy trying to convince himself that a shifty manager’s claims mean his would-be rock-star career is truly moving forward — if only toward alleged “European test-market release” of a CD in Greenland.

Annie and Johnny are cheerfully accepting of Wiley’s presumed homosexuality. He’s much less self-accepting (snobbishly decrying gay culture as little more than the intersection between Village People and Judy Garland), and takes out sexual frustration by waxing jealous about the duo’s straight coupledom. Latter is strained, anyhow, when Annie bursts Johnny’s balloon re fact that his agent is clearly a shyster.

Finding solace at Wiley’s apartment, Johnny reluctantly decides to “help” by making himself sexually available. But this move, natch, leads to discomfort on all sides. Fallout for trio is shrugged off at the close, which suggests this storm will pass without leaving permanent damage.

Living in a hip twentysomething universe of downscale neighborhoods, ’50s lounge revivalism and indie rock, lead characters are affable but sketched in pretty one-note terms by starring-writing-directing team of Rosen and Pritikin. Sole other figures of note are Annie’s bitchy ex-roommate and her argumentative boyfriend.

Thin script is stretched out with some rote pratfalls and lots of alt-rock soundtracking. Perfs are decent, though Rosen’s middling neurotic wisecracks and bespectacled demeanor are more blatantly derivative of Woody Allen than seems wise. Tech package is competent, if undistinguished.

Totally Confused

(COMEDY)

Production: A Murray Shuman production. Produced by Bob Fagan, Gary Rosen, Greg Pritikin. Executive producer, Alan Demovsky. Directed, written by Gary Rosen,Greg Pritikin.

Crew: Camera (color), Alan Thatcher; editor, Michael Palmerio; music, Mike Ruekberg; art director, Lecy Campbell; costumes and makeup, James Boehmer; sound, Mark Ruff; associate producers, Thatcher, Trish Hitt; assistant director, Jon-Paul Velasquez. Reviewed at Roxie Cinema, San Francisco, June 11, 1998. (In S.F. Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.) Running time: 87 MIN.

With: Johnny ..... Greg Pritikin Wiley ..... Gary Rosen Annie ..... Jackie Katzman Cindy ..... Heather Donaldson Alistair ..... Derek Hasenstab Murray ..... Duane Sharp

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