‘Slutty Summer’; ‘Paternal Instinct’


Welcome to Jerry Falwell’s worst nightmare: In the new romantic comedy Slutty Summer, New York exists in an alternate universe populated entirely by gay men. The cast has room for exactly one heterosexual, a struggling actress searching in vain for a decent (not to mention straight) man. She’d have better luck finding one in a monastery. Summer has an interesting premise—if all men are pigs, gay monogamy may be impossible—but first-timer Casper Andreas approaches his subject with the subtlety of a wrecking ball. Tired jokes are repeated over and over; one bit about a masturbating restaurant manager gets used three times in one scene alone. Andreas plays the lead, a mopey guy named Markus who embarks on the titular sexpedition after discovering his boyfriend’s infidelity. Unfortunately he flubs most of his dialogue; though he wrote the screenplay, Andreas seems incapable of remembering his lines.

One character in Summer declares, “You can’t promise to love someone forever,” but the subjects of the compassionate documentary Paternal Instinct would certainly disagree. Mark and Erik, happily married for 10 years, decide to start a family and employ Wen, an affable witch from Maine, as the surrogate mother. As intimate as a home movie, Instinct has only one flaw: its length. In this form, there isn’t sufficient screen time for Wen, whose motives for participating despite a husband and adolescent son of her own, remain frustratingly obscure. Still, it’s difficult not to be won over by Instinct‘s humanity; celebrating his own 40th birthday, Mark delivers an unforgettable, heartfelt message to his unborn child. In contrast, the most memorable line from Slutty Summer is “Hey you! Nice nipples!”