When Madstone Theaters backed out of plans to premiere this gay Mormon romance in Salt Lake City (concurrent with openings in L.A. and New York), its president denied accusations of doing so in response to protests from religious groups, claiming that Sweet Home Alabama screenwriter C. Jay Cox’s directorial debut didn’t meet company standards of “artistic quality and integrity.” Cox’s tacky melodrama is indeed sub-par, but no worse than numerous gay indies. This predictable affair between an earnest Mormon missionary (Steve Sandvoss) and a slutty Los Angeles neo-clone (Wes Ramsey) pilots its culture-challenging raison d’être through an increasingly insufferable collection of gaysploitation conventions: borderline-ironic aging-female cameo (Mary Kay Place); catty, campy friendship circle (complete with fag hag); gratuitous sex gags; historical revelation (LDS-approved shock-therapy treatments); and a bitter, wasted AIDS hunk (Erik Palladino) dishing out bitchy memento moris to the post-twink protagonist. Still, considering Latter Days’ numerous audience awards at gay festivals, Madstone’s cancellation seems particularly cowardly. Don’t Mormons deserve the same schlocky gay entertainment as everyone else?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 20, 2004