My Old Addiction

Movie Reviews By Bil Antoniou

Happy Birthday, Gemini (1980)

RICHARD BENNER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  B.  USA, 1980.  Screenplay by Richard Benner, based on the play by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Podcast:  Bad Gay Movies.

Alan Rosenberg, Robert Viharo, Rita Moreno, Madeline Kahn, Timothy Jenkins, Alberto deRosa in Happy Birthday Gemini.

Albert Innaurato’s off-Broadway play Gemini is adapted to the screen with painful results.   is the centre of interest as a Harvard scholarship student who is taking his summer break in his working class Philadelphia neighbourhood.  He’s also preparing for his twenty-first birthday, surrounded by the madness of his butcher father (), the sexy widow () with whom his dad is having an affair, the tacky but adorable blond () who is the neighbourhood loudmouth, and her socially awkward son ().   When his WASPy girlfriend () shows up for a surprise visit along with her brother (), it forces Rosenberg to confront the issue that has been bugging him for a while:  he’s in love with his girlfriend’s brother.  The supporting characters are played by more famous actors than the leads, which is possibly why the majority of the movie feels like aimless distraction from the central concern.  Unable to recreate the cultish fun of his previous film Outrageous, Richard Benner (who also adapted the script) creates something that is neither sincere enough to be poignant or ridiculous enough to be campy fun.  That it resides mainly in the middle makes it a huge bore to sit through, plus it makes class-act performers like Madeline Kahn come off like total amateurs.

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