The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (here! Films/Regent Releasing, R)

When Meredith Baxter uttered the phrase "fuck buddy," the audience couldn't help but giggle.

 

Lately, comic strips have been wildly successful in making the transition to the big screen. Monster hits like X-Men and Superman have proven that comic geeks can equal box office gold. However, that theory is about to take a hit. The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green may have begun as a successful underground comic strip, but unfortunately, it loses something in the translation to the silver screen.

The story follows the main character, Ethan Green (Daniel Letterle), as he deals with the trials and tribulations of life in the gay universe. He finds out that the house he lives in-owned by his ex-boyfriend Leo (David Monahan)-is about to be sold. He and his lesbian roommate, Charlotte (Shanola Hampton), must find somewhere else to live. And that is about all there is to the plot. No, for real. Sure, I could go on and on about how, while Ethan is looking for a place to live, he has to deal with his own inner demons and shortcomings, but the main focus here is Ethan looking for a new place to live.

There are the usual stereotypical characters involved like the overly sexual young gay kid, Punch Epstein (Dean Shelton), the overbearing, no-limit mother figure, Harper Green (Meredith Baxter), and the obligatory "fairy" godmothers—a.k.a. the hat sisters (Joel Brooks and Richard Riehle). But no matter how many gay clichés writer David Vernon crams into his story, the lack of a central, well-developed plot makes this movie painful to swallow.

Letterle's performance as the title character doesn't help, as his pretentious delivery falls flat. His odd timing and inability to give his role any sense of depth cause the film to suffer. His portrayal is so shallow and unaffected that the rest of the cast has their work cut out for them. Monahan and Hampton do decent enough jobs in their limited roles, but Letterle doesn't have the ability to carry the whole story on his narrow shoulders.

Still, there were some enjoyable performances by some of the veteran actors. Baxter was fantastic to watch in the role of Ethan's mom. When Baxter uttered the phrase "fuck buddy," the audience couldn't help but giggle. Brooks and Riehle were also fun to watch, serving up comic relief as the "hat sisters." While they had the lion's share of tender moments and comedic one-liners, their characters were underdeveloped and underused.

Director George Bamber missed the mark on his directorial debut by failing to give the audience anything fresh or new to watch. The movie is crammed full of the same tired stereotypes and situations the gay community has had to endure for years. We have seen the lonely, hot gay guy looking for love (The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, and even Will on the over-hyped Will and Grace); we have seen the outrageous, overly accepting mother figure (Queer as Folk's Sharon Gless as Debbie Novotny); and we have seen the older gay men in drag (The Birdcage). All of these characters have been done before, and been done to death. So, short of the obligatory and somewhat explicit sex scenes and the occasional funny one-liner, The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green is, itself, mostly unfabulous.

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