“Down Low” is a dark comedy that plays like a series of successful hits and dreadful misses. A lot doesn’t work in director Rightor Doyle‘s film, but the parts that do are pretty damn hilarious. This sex-positive movie about an anonymous online hookup that goes horribly wrong is not as mainstream as other gay comedies like “Bros,” but co-writers Phoebe Fisher and Lukas Gage‘s weird, original story pushes boundaries — in a good way.
Gary (Zachary Quinto) is a deeply repressed man. His family has left him, he has been given months to live, and he’s lived his entire life as a closeted gay man. When he finally musters up the courage to hire male masseuse and escort Cameron (Gage) to make a sexy house call, he is shocked by the young man’s free spirited, “out and proud” persona. Trying to break through Gary’s stuffy exterior, Cameron insists on posting a random hookup request on Tinder and within an hour, a stranger shows up at the door. Their encounter doesn’t end as planned for their guest, and the uptight businessman and his new uninhibited sex worker friend find themselves with a huge mess of a problem on their hands.
The film starts off painfully slow, with choppy dialogue and an iffy setup, and it takes a while to get going. Once it gains momentum, the narrative gets even wilder (and believe it or not, more thoughtful). The story takes place over one very eventful night and is set inside Gary’s polished suburban home. It’s not until the finale that the location is changed up, and the ending is a doozy.
Gage and Quinto make a great onscreen pairing, playing two vastly different characters that somehow needed each other in their lives. There are some funny supporting turns from Simon Rex and Judith Light too, including a silly dress up montage and an eccentric, hilarious dream sequence in a dance club that is a result of a bit of casual crack smoking with a necrophiliac cannibal they find on the dark web (told you it’s weird).
Your reaction to this film will depend a great deal on your individual tolerance for dark, progressive humor and unorthodox storytelling. It’s going to be way too far out there for most audiences unless you want to dip your toe out of your typical comfort zone.
“Down Low” is one of those imperfect films that probably could’ve been a lot better than it turned out to be, but there’s enough unique material here for a mild recommendation.”Down Low” is one of those imperfect films that probably could’ve been a lot better than it turned out to be, but there’s enough unique material here for a mild recommendation.
By: Louisa Moore