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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Male Escorts in Popular Culture: Example #5 - Boy Toy (2011)

While perusing the Redbox last weekend, I came across an indie film called Boy Toy about a straight male escort. I wasn't expecting much as you can see by the suggestive box cover, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

Jake is your typical douchebag, deadbeat roommate whose basic motivations in life are to hook up with lots of girls and mooch off his best friend Ronnie. He's also a wannabe underwear model whose "headshot" is a picture of his crotch wearing Calvin Klein-like briefs that feature his prominently large package. Yeah. You can see where this is going.

One morning Ronnie comes home to find the apartment a total wasteland and Jake in bed with a strange girl (as always). Their landlord knocks on the door and demands the rent, which they don't have. Finally Ronnie decides that he's fed up and insists that Jake find a job, because his salary as a bartender isn't enough to cover everything.

At the bar where Ronnie works, Mouse, their Asian friend and Jake's sometime booty call, joins them. They spot a local gigolo named Clive who's out with one of his cougar clients. Mouse mentions to Jake and Ronnie that Clive's a pro and this gets Jake's wheels turning. Jake figures he's good at picking up women anyway, so why not get paid for it?

Unfortunately, Jake's first couple of attempts at getting clientele are a complete disaster. He goes to an L.A. Weekly-type magazine called The Hollywood Beat and places an ad under the name "Boy Toy". His first client is a Southern BBW from hell named Sandra who nearly crushes him to death during a painfully unfunny dry-humping scene. The second is a senior citizen who invites him to a card game with another elderly couple. One of the men is hard of hearing and thinks Jake is coming onto his wife, so he starts beating him with a cane. It really is not as funny as it reads.

Jake tells Mouse to step up her A-game to find him better clients. She manages to find a rich PR professional named Barbra Skypes, played by the still gorgeous and ravishing Morgan Fairchild (boy, her career really took a nosedive appearing in this film, didn't it?). She offers Jake more money than he ever dreamed of by being her arm-candy and refers him to other wealthy female clients.

The film descends into typical rom-com fare when Jake meets Norah, a pretty, but hopelessly dim yoga instructor that Jake falls head-over-heels in love with. As predictable story lines like this go, Jake's heart and mind battle with each other as he struggles with his keeping his professional life secret from his girlfriend. Eventually he goes into business with Mouse and Ronnie and they start their own male escort agency.

The acting was decent enough and it had a few funny lines here and there, but overall, the film is very uneven. While it tries hard to be a raunchy comedy, there's no graphic sex scenes at all, which surprised me, since I thought it was going to be exploitative. It has a character named Robert who has a stuttering problem (no doubt inspired by Stuttering John), but the gag fell pathetically flat. Almost all the female characters in this story seemed to have the IQ of 5 and Jake is a protagonist that's hard to relate to, even when he does fall in love with Norah. There's a gay subtext implying that Ronnie has a crush on Jake, and Norah's best friend may be a lesbian who's attracted to her, but nothing ever develops.

There is a huge twist in the plot (and if you don't want to be spoiled, DO NOT see the trailer - that's why I didn't post it here). Despite this turn of events, the resolution is predictable. I find it hard to believe that Jake doesn't have sex with his clients (yeah, right). The result is lame, trite, and quite frankly, dull, but it did have cute moments here and there.

The most surprising thing was that this film was written and directed by a woman! I would have expected a film like this to have been done by a man, but you just never know. The Behind-the-Scenes featurette on the DVD was half-serious, half-farcical. I could've done without the farcical "oh, let's make fun of the behind-the-scenes video and punk the audience!" crap and would've preferred for it to be straightforward. They shot on the Red camera, and it definitely shows, as the film looks crisp, clean, and flawless. The biggest name in the whole film was Morgan Fairchild and the rest of the cast are made up of unknowns. I figured Ms. Fairchild's name attached to the project was the only way the producers could get distribution from Lionsgate. The funniest part of the whole film was the Blooper Reel at the end credits. Ouch.

Would I recommend this film? Hmmm. Maybe. If there's nothing better to watch on TV you can rent this one or you may catch it on cable one of these days. Not the best film I've ever seen on male companions. Why do all the best romantic comedies feature female escorts? I'm still waiting for a really brilliant comedy on the subject. Only time will tell.

EDIT: There was no bulldog in the film either! I was cheated! LOL