Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
Original title: Bear City
USA, 2010. BearCity Limits. Screenplay by Douglas Langway, Lawrence Ferber. Cinematography by Michael Hauer. Produced by Heidi H. Hamelin. Music by Kerry Muzzey. Production Design by Racey North. Costume Design by Kathryn Moser. Film Editing by Gerald Fernando, Douglas Langway. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
A romantic comedy set among the hirsute and fleshy, this one would be a much more welcome venture outside the norms of popular gay culture if only the writing and direction weren’t so shoddy. Tyler is a plucky young man with a secret he can’t share with his model-thin roommate: he loves bears. Rather than live a life without his preferred type of guy, Tyler changes apartments, gets a job at a café and begins his search for the bear who will fish him out of the river and devour him like salmon.
We are also given glimpses into the lives of other couples, including the ups and downs of a committed relationship flirting with the idea of a third participant, and a man who is dealing with life’s disappointments by preparing for lapband surgery that his boyfriend objects to. Throughout the film, Tyler keeps trying to get somewhere with a handsome stranger who keeps crossing his path but can’t connect, the other guy trapped between the expectations of his peers and his inability to go after the young thing that he wants.
It’s truly great to see a marginalized aspect of an increasingly mainstream culture celebrated in such a joyfully kinky comedy, but there are far too many contrived situations and bad performances to make it fully palatable. Tyler’s flirtation with his silver fox strikes a particularly false note, as the film invents illogical reasons to keep them apart until the overdue conclusion.