Skin and Bone


Everett Lewis’s fitfully comic, pitifully pretentious soap opera about a trio of L.A. male escorts runs out of promise so quickly that only the most tenacious (or desperate) viewers will hang on till the sorry end. The boys work for an agency that seems to be run from behind the wheel of a convertible by a black-wigged madam with the whine of a put-upon salesgirl. The clients, a uniformly creepy bunch, mix their sadomasochism with a dash of theater of the absurd. One dresses up as a general in order to be rousted from his car and beaten by hustlers dressed up as cops; another watches from behind a door while a nude escort mops his kitchen floor.

Antics like these make iteasier for the rent boys to pre– tend that they’re just actors doing a job. Late in the film, Harry (B. Wyatt), the seasoned leader of the pack and a movie actor wannabe, gets his chance to turn legit. After bending over for a big agent, he’s cast in My Bloody Cop, and, unaccountably, they love him. But Harry’s redemption is too late (and too unbelievable: we’ve already seen him act); instead of escaping the racket, he and his buddies, like all good whores, get their ugly comeuppance. ”Fantasy has its price,” Skin and Bone’s ad line reads; we can’t afford it.