a film by Christopher Ashley
1995 | 89 mins | US
›› Jeffrey
camping the safe sex message home
Jeffrey by Christopher Ashley Longing for the days before AIDS entered the sexual equation, Jeffrey has decided to give up sex! So it's a case of no sex for him and sadly no sex for Steve; a cute him at his local gym who would love to sample Jeffrey's charms, only for our born again virgin to turn down this man of muscles on account of his 'no sex policy,' let alone Steve's HIV positive status.

Yet what Jeffrey fears, his best friend and interior designer with flair Sterling has embraced, being in a long term relationship with Darius; feline star of CATS and a person living with AIDS. And yes they have sex, safe sex, great sex - after all it's just sex! Only not in Jeffrey's view. So cue a quest for some sexual enlightenment courtesy of a new age guru with attitude, let alone a priest who takes his 'hands on' approach to the Lords work all too literally! Then again, could a close encounter of the spiritual kind finally bring our man to his senses and make him realise that love is like a balloon, for you have to catch it, before it passes you by!

With more than a nod and a wink to its theatrical background, this adaptation by Paul In & Out Rudnick of his highly successful stage play brilliantly showcases the subject of AIDS, within a comic context. Yet Jeffrey equally marks a good old-fashioned love story, one where boy meets boy, only to hold back on the sexual jollities when the issue of HIV arises. Thankfully Bryan Batt is on hand to put our man straight as-it-were, hereby reprising his role of Darius, standing alongside such major players as Sigourney Weaver as the nation's hottest post-modern evangelist, Nathan Lane as a gay clergyman in dire need of a quickie and camping it up big style and clearly loving every minute of it, Patrick Stewart as Sterling; headline stars that guaranteed the film both funding and cinematic distribution.

Jeffrey by Christopher Ashley Yet at the heart of this work is the relationship between Michael T Weiss as Steve Howard and Steven Weber as cater-waiter come actor Jeffrey, parts that initially proved difficult to cast, given many in the business did not wish to undertake such gay specific roles. Thankfully where others said no, the Weber / Weiss boys said yes and in the process displayed some apt comic timing, a skill that Weber would later put to good use as a guest star on that sitcom known as the Will & Grace show.

Such is more than appropriate, given this feature is full of two-dimensional characters in episodic sitcom-like situations, filled as it is with Camp with a capital C, Stereotypes with a capital S and Laughs with a capital L. Yet it also marked a film that proved that if the script fits the comic hat, even the subject of AIDS can be turned into a comedy and along the way, deliver the safe sex message home big time. Need more be said?
available on DVD as part of the Cinema Club catalogue
starring: Steven Weber, Patrick Stewart, Michael T Weiss, Bryan Batt, Sigourney Weaver, Nathan Lane, Olympia Dukakis,
Robert Klein, Christine Baranski, Kathy Najimy, Debra Monk, Peter Maloney, J Smith Cameron,
K Todd Freeman and Irma St Paule as Mother Teresa
Copyright 2007 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #036
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