Picks and Pans Review: Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss
Billy (Hayes) is a 26-year-old art photographer in L.A. who is shooting a series of Polaroids in which he re-creates famous love scenes from old movies, using as his models a hunk and a drag queen. His hunk of choice is coffee shop waiter Gabriel (Rowe, who, in addition to sharing Brad Pitt's first name, bears a more than passing resemblance). Billy has a huge crush on the slightly younger man, but Gabriel, though happy to pal around with Billy and model for his pictures, keeps insisting he's straight and has a girlfriend. That is, until he breaks up with her.
Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss is a jolly little romantic comedy in which being gay is no big deal. You either are or you aren't, but no sitting on the fence. A promising first film by director-writer Tommy O'Haver, Kiss is as colorfully entertaining, and soft and gooey at its center, as the '50s Hollywood romantic melodramas that Billy so reveres. Among the cast,. Hayes demonstrates a winningly sly way with a comic line, while Rowe gives Gabriel more substance than just that of a boy toy. Camp favorites Holly Woodlawn (the very same one who is immortalized in Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side") and Paul Bartel add to the fun with supporting roles. And dig those groovy opening credits. (R)
Bottom Line: Fizzy fun