Film

Film

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GRAND THEFT PARSONS

Directed by David Caffrey

Opens June 18, Village East

A wishy-washy nowheresville of indie-film indecisiveness, this truth-based fiction about the renegade desert cremation of country rocker Gram Parsons by his loyal road manager (Johnny Knoxville) can’t decide which direction to take, and thus remains tediously stuck in the middle of the road, despite a tantalizing premise: the real-life story of how Parsons’s friend stole his corpse to honor their private final-rites pact. Neither a satisfying exploration of ’70s culture, nor a madcap Weekend at Bernie’s caper, nor an informative paean to Parsons’s legacy, Grand Theft stumbles toward all three possibilities, backpedals, then stalls, left to coast as an insipid road movie. Christina Applegate provides shrieking tantrums as Parsons’s gold-digging mistress, while Knoxville attempts to play straight man to a “druggie” sidekick (Michael Shannon). Perhaps the somewhat disengaged Knoxville was daydreaming of more artistically satisfying projects—like being shot in the stomach with an air rifle. ED HALTER


SAINTS AND SINNERS

Directed by Abigail Honor and Yan Vizinberg

Avatar, opens June 18, Quad

Like the subjects of 2001’s Trembling Before G-d, struggling to reconcile their sexuality with Orthodox Jewish faith, gay Catholic New Yorkers Edward DeBonis and Vincent Maniscalco attempt in vain to sanctify their union in the Catholic Church. As the droll, soft-spoken couple prepare for the wedding, eventually held in a sympathetic Protestant church, they relate in measured tones stories of coming out—one after a failed marriage to a female friend—and meeting cute in the Village. There’s an enforced squareness afoot as the directors contrast the couple with Pride-float revelers, as if testifying in front of a Massachusetts court that these two are as fuddy-duddy as the wholesomest het duo: They’re monogamous and spiritual, have good jobs and close families (some relatives do get cold feet on the big day, but eventually show), and dream of seeing their wedding photo in the Times Style section—an official recognition that, in lieu of a license and papal blessing, must for now suffice. LAURA SINAGRA


YOU’LL GET OVER IT

Directed by Fabrice Cazeneuve

Picture This!, opens June 18, Quad

The second-person title implies a target audience, and indeed, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than a sexually confused teen getting much use value from French director Fabrice Cazeneuve’s coming-out drama You’ll Get Over It (the it referring presumably not to homosexuality but the profound, petty cruelty of adolescence). That said, the genre is by now so routine in plotting its cycle of persecution and affirmation that even the slightest textual and textural deviations are welcome. Vincent (Julien Baumgartner) is a closeted A-student swim champ and the lust object who outs him is a bad boy accessorized with a dog-eared copy of Lautréamont’s Maldoror. The film goes through a difficult phase—emphasizing Vincent’s alienation from boorish suburban peers and creepy Marais queens, and not letting him off the hook for his almost total self-absorption (refreshingly, his beard girlfriend turns down the role of hag confidante). But all too breezily, You’ll Get Over It gets over it—the dewy, abrupt optimism of its ending seems wholly unearned. DENNIS LIM