The Art of Being Straight Psychologically Flat

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The Art of Being Straight
Directed by Jesse Rosen
Regent Releasing
Opens June 5, Quad Cinema

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Misunderstood, reviled, and even doubted to really exist, bisexuals throw a wrench in binary thinking about sexuality; they befuddle as many queer folk as they do straight. In The Art of Being Straight, writer-director Jesse Rosen attempts to illuminate the bisexual experience from the inside out, with "straight" boy Jon (played by Rosen) broadening his sexual horizons in the film's main plot, and acerbic young dyke Maddy (Rachel Castillo, excellent) flirting with a woman-on-man affair as the sub-plot. College friends, the two are transplants to L.A., grappling with career complications as they wrestle with newfound desires. Rosen's script is competently crafted, and his cast is talented. It's undermined, though, by his simplistic—even scarily retro—ideas about queer sexuality. Jon is introduced to man-sex by his creep, stalker-like boss, and their big sex scene is not just uncomfortable, but joyless, lacking heat. And while Rosen shows playfulness and real sexual ardor in his boy-girl sex scenes, the homo couplings are all drunken and tortured. The psychologically flat script isn't nearly up to the task of depicting the pleasure within confusion/despair (or vice versa); neither are Rosen's acting chops.

 
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