James Franco, our most insufferable self-styled renaissance man, is regularly dismissed as merely over-rich and restless -- a fidgety hobbyist of ample means and free time. But it hardly seems fair to blame him for seeking distraction, occasionally mustering a starring role in a Disney vehicle or a slim volume of modernist short stories. We all putter around the house sometimes, albeit to less glamorous ends. A more egregious offense is the apparently indiscriminate sweep of his proclivities. Franco, in other words, has terrible taste in pastimes — and regrettably we are privy to all of them. His latest fleeting avocation is Interior. Leather Bar., an hour-long experiment in speculative queer fiction. It's a particularly risible nothing whose premise alone betrays the paucity of Franco's imagination and wit: Thirty years ago, censors excised nearly 40 minutes of William Friedkin's gay-club thriller Cruising to secure an R rating, and with Interior Franco seeks to reimagine this lost footage and restage it as a kind of spiritual restoration. You may be wondering why Cruising in particular warrants this treatment. Well, no reason: Like the Oscars and Oz, any given project need only give this star something to do. Franco, smugly po-faced throughout, regards his efforts here as nothing short of noble, as if his ineffectual gestures toward the "crisis" of heteronormativity promised anything but self-satisfaction. Rarely has liberal guilt animated self-righteous invective so vigorously.
James Franco, Travis MathewsVal Lauren, James Franco, Christian Patrick, Travis Mathews, Brenden Gregory, Brad Roberge, Collin Chavez, A.J. Goodrich, Robby Acklen, Osbaldo Daniel AlvarezTravis MathewsStrand Releasing