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  • David Zak

FIRE ISLAND Is A Queer Splash of Summer Loving

I recommend watching FIRE ISLAND with a big fruity drink surrounded by friends. It has a tremendous multicultural ensemble, a bit of literary pedigree, and some laughs - the biggest of which might be the cast screeching the opening theme! With powerful abs and curvaceous butts on display in skimpy clothing, who could ask for anything more?

Joel Kim Booster stars in his own screenplay, inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Five friends who have vacationed together for ten years learn their Fire Island rental is now sold. But no one is packing or savoring memories, although the annual shenanigans are shadowed by melancholy.

Booster plays Noah, a hot gay who always scores. However, this year, he has decided to wait till his virginal friend Howie (Bowen Yang) gets some first. Phones fall in pools, men fall in love, and friends do drugs, dance, and drink. The film includes multiple minor characters who pack the dance floor and prowl the meat rack. Big bearded gym boys are still the most coveted.

Noah is irritated and intrigued by Will (Conrad Ricamora), an out-of-place, joyless man most comfortable when buried in a book. As he and Noah connect and misfire, it seems unlikely that either will ever find his heart's desire.

Nick Adams plays Cooper, whose body armor abs enable his sinister goals. Margaret Cho is Erin, the house's owner and mother of this chosen family. Yang has dazzled at times on Saturday Night Live, and Cho has fantastic comedy specials that are a must-see. But neither of these two funny performers have memorable material here.

Director Andrew Ahn keeps the hijinks moving briskly, and the drone imagery from the island contrasts the natural and manufactured beauty. Conversations about racism occur, followed by another round of drinks, which eases the pain. There are no big scenes of love, rage, or romance. Even the sex is subdued, making this adaptation almost family-friendly fluffy fun.

If you are new to queer films, this is a perfect way to kick off pride month. If you have seen many gay movies, you may note what is new and what will always be. You won't be surprised when the opening bars of Last Dance underscore the setting sun. Donna Summers - once again - has the final say.

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