Bil’s rating (out of 5): B. USA, 1980. King-Hitzig Productions. Screenplay by Richard Benner, based on the play by Albert Innaurato. Cinematography by James B. Kelly. Produced by Rupert Hitzig. Music by Cathy Chamberlain, Rich Look. Production Design by Edwin Watkins. Costume Design by Lynne MacKay. Film Editing by Stephan Fanfara. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
Albert Innaurato’s off-Broadway play Gemini is adapted to the screen with painful results. Alan Rosenberg 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 (Robert Viharo), the sexy widow (Rita Moreno) with whom his dad is having an affair, the tacky but adorable blond (Madeline Kahn) who is the neighbourhood loudmouth, and her socially awkward son (Timothy Jenkins). When his WASPy girlfriend (Sarah Holcomb) shows up for a surprise visit along with her brother (David Marshall Grant), 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.