a fresh take on the ‘home is where the heart is’ scenario
Recently parted from his Parisian partner Gilles and dreading the prospect of spending Christmas home alone, puppy-eyed Jérôme decides instead to jump countries, having headed straight to the nearest airport in the hope of making it big in sun-drenched LA. Only life in the city of dreams is not quite what he expected; nor that of the fleapit state of his hotel. Walking the streets with his luggage in hand, he chances upon transsexual sex worker Kaleesha, a girl whose kind hearted offer of a room for the night comes courtesy of the drag queen home of her best friend; one Norma Desire. Only when his encounter with Ross, a position guy with a pot supply results with casting directors a-calling, whose door does Jérôme really want to knock on; Hollywood or that of his ex lover?
Fans of the short Serene Hunter will already be familiar with the work of Jason Bushman and actor Eric Debets, who here team up again to deliver this inspired American / French crossbreed of gay cinema. Not that the sentimental nature of his work has distracted Bushman from the reality of gay life, as Jérôme is soon to be found checking out the LA sauna scene, whilst forever having sexual fantasy takes on his life with Gilles.
Yet the ever present scenes of male nudity take a backseat here, as writer / director Bushman delights in playing with his cast of hooky characters and in due course delivers some bitter home truths on the Hollywood scene. In doing so, he laces his script with a series of telling lines from the like of "there’s so many actors and actresses here tonight - some of them are even working" to the acid liner "Hollywood wants its faggots behind the camera - not in front."
That the film follows Jérôme’s episodistic ‘no idea of where he’s going’ approach to life, goes without saying. Only here you cannot help but wonder why almost everyone, casting directors included, seem to fall for this guy, given Eric Debets’ fish-out-of-water character is forever pining away for a man apt at never returning his text messages. Thus it is left to the colourful cast of supporting players to add the narratives' joie du vie, a situation that sees Diarra Kilpatrick as Kaleesha deliver the heart and soul of the piece, leaving Michael Airington as aging DQ Norma Desire to cite the harsh reality of LA life, one in which "no one gets discovered anymore, that element of the Hollywood dream has long since expired."
Only it is Chad Allen who effortlessly steals the show as local pot dealer Ross, his vibrant energy hitting the screen for all its worth, in a character that whilst upbeat, is in reality at the end of lonely street. And yet unlike Jérôme’s deadpan approach to life, his character knows how to smile, in this fresh, yet touching take on the ‘home is where the heart is’ scenario, one that thanks to Bushman comes complete with a remarkably honest depiction of life in the city of broken dreams.
starring: Michael Airington, Diarra Kilpatrick, Jonathan Blanc with Chad Allen and introducing Eric Debets as Jérôme Beaunez co-starring: Whitney Anderson, Cesar Arambula, Randall Bacon, Matthew J Cates, Sarah Domin, Kelly Ebsary,
Véronique Mérilhou, Pamela J Morgan, Jake Olson, Doug Purcell,
Leah Rachel, Scott Romstadt, Akiko Shima