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The Good American

A relatively trite effort in Jochen Hick's nearly two-decade feature career.

With: Tom Weise, Keith Richmond, Frederik Berlin, Jeffrey Davids, Sascha Muller-Bardone, Talvin DeMachio, Mike Jones, Lars Svenson, Alex Baresi, Vin Nolan, Victor Steele.

A relatively trite effort in Jochen Hick’s nearly two-decade feature career, “The Good American” provides the filmmaker (and viewers) an excuse to hang out with gay sex workers, rather than any real insight into their lives and biz. Subject Tom Weise is a German expat who co-founded popular escort site Rentboy.com and the live dance party Hustlaball; extroverted but not especially fascinating, he dominates a docu that leaves too many questions dangling to satisfy. Late August release in Germany will score home-format sales elsewhere.

Due to his HIV-positive status, the diminuitive 40-year-old is an illegal U.S. immigrant; deportation fears finally drive him to return home after 12 years with an American lover. We follow him to elaborate Hustlaball parties and other events involving porn actors, prostitutes and their admirers. Weise’s opinions on hypocritical Stateside sexual attitudes and politics are predictable, and the domestic sequences sometimes plod aimlessly. Meanwhile, there’s a curious evasiveness regarding Weise’s fallouts with business partners, suggesting a more problematic personality than Hick is willing to explore. Actual male escorts (but almost no customers) are also observed, albeit glibly. Slick sum is at once diverting and pointless.

Popular on Variety

The Good American


Production: A Galeria Alaska Prods. presentation. Produced by Jochen Hick. Directed by Jochen Hick.

Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-DV), Hick; editor, Thomas Keller. Reviewed at Frameline, San Francisco, June 23, 2009. (Also in Berlin Film Festival, NewFest.) English, German dialogue. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Tom Weise, Keith Richmond, Frederik Berlin, Jeffrey Davids, Sascha Muller-Bardone, Talvin DeMachio, Mike Jones, Lars Svenson, Alex Baresi, Vin Nolan, Victor Steele.

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