Another Gay Movie, the Director’s Cut, arrives on digital platforms on April 27th and on DVD on May 4th via Breaking Glass Pictures.
The older I get, the more I wonder where time has gone – this feeling was brought into focus recently when the 15th Anniversary Director’s Cut of Another Gay Movie landed in my inbox (that’s not a double entendre). Initially, I did a double-take, my brain unable to compute that this gleefully rambunctious creation was fifteen years old. But it’s true; Todd Stephens’ Another Gay Movie is now officially an awkward teenager, its brash, bold, filthy, colourful and proudly queer take on American Pie receiving additional footage, edits and a few minor tweaks.
Another Gay Movie quickly introduces us to the perpetually horny Andy (Michael Carbonaro) and his three besties, jock Jarod (Jonathan Chase), geek Griff (Mitch Morris), and the effeminate Nico (Jonah Blechman). Andy has a major crush on his science teacher Mr Puckov (Graham Norton), while also sexually experimenting with assorted vegetables, his derrière a veritable allotment. Meanwhile, the exuberant Nico fears coming out to his PFlag mum Bonnie (Stephanie McVay), and Jarod and Griff dance around their unspoken attraction for each other. Stephens’ characters are held in the void between teenage life and adulthood as they all agree to lose their virginity before the summer ends and college begins. At this point, you may be experiencing déjà vu, a niggling feeling you have seen this movie before, minus the phallic vegetables. The reason is you have! Another Gay Movie is American Pie, with added glitter, anal experimentation, and boners. Even the famous apple pie is replaced by a hot wet quiche and an inquisitive gerbil.
On release in 2006, many criticised Stephens’ gleeful film for the LGBTQ+ stereotypes it housed, while others found its low-budget gross-out comedy problematic. However, in retrospect, many of these criticisms highlighted internal and external homophobia in film criticism; after all, Another Gay Movie is no more offensive, rude or stereotypical than many heterosexual teen comedies. The movie itself is a subversion of the widely accepted and celebrated stories of teen male conquests over women, many of which continue to be celebrated as classics of the comedy genre. This, in turn, raises an important question, were the criticisms of Another Gay Movie due to the bravery of its bold queer representation? And would a heterosexual movie have been scrutinised to the same level?
To answer these questions, we need to take a trip back to the beginning of the 00s, where increasing confidence in LGBTQ+ equality and storytelling had been born out of dramas like Queer as Folk. Here in the UK, the 00s would see the repeal of section 28, age of consent equalisation, equal rights in adoption, employment equality legislation and more. The media landscape was also slowly changing as Will Young came out after winning Pop Idol and Brian Dowling became the first openly gay kid’s TV presenter. Meanwhile, Stonewall launched its Education for All campaign, and queer culture found itself embraced by straight communities like never before.
In cinemas, the journey towards LGBTQ+ representation sat within the drama genre, from Brokeback Mountain to A Home at the End of the World. Meanwhile, on TV, Will and Grace, Sugar Rush, and Queer as Folk USA continued to chip away at the rainbow glass ceiling. However, teen comedy remained a predominantly heterosexual affair despite the progress made. US teen comedies continued to build on the straight, white and heterosexual world of the 1980s; therefore, when gay characters briefly appeared, their portrayal was often profoundly problematic and rooted in despair or alienation. Therefore, the arrival of Another Gay Movie in 2006 was groundbreaking on several levels as Todd Stephens took the 80s and 90s teen sex comedy into a defiantly gay world. In Stephens’ colourful suburbia, being LGBTQ+ was the norm.
Another Gay Movie opened the closet and allowed gay sex to come out in comedy while laughing at the stereotypes many heterosexual people still held. It would joyously normalise gay sex, desire, and experimentation like heterosexual comedies have done for years, allowing gay teens to explore their own development through laughter. Brash, bold, loud and proud, Another Gay Movie may not be world-class, but its place in gay cinematic history is assured. Todd Stephens’ movie reflected a new emerging queer confidence while tearing up the teen comedy rulebook. Love it or loathe it, Another Gay Movie may have had far more impact than we have ever given it credit for. Ultimately, whatever your thoughts, one thing is for sure, Another Gay Movie holds a unique place in LGBTQ+ cinema fifteen years after its release. It’s a one-off, an indie gem and, more importantly, a brash, bold and brilliant glitter-covered celebration of queer sex.