Boy Culture is a film made by people just smart enough to acknowledge that the tropes of modern queer filmmaking have been reduced to cliché, but who themselves lack the courage to push be
yond tried-and-true box-office formulas. Early on, lead character X (Derek Magyar) announces, “If you’re smart, you’ve guessed I’m a hustler. If you haven’t, here are two clues: I’m gay and they’ve made a movie about me.” That glibness defines the script, in which cutesy phrases and pop-culture references are used as character-sketching shorthand. X shares his sprawling apartment with grating young queen Joey (Jonathon Trent) and studly black jock Andrew (Darryl Stephens)—a triangle of unrequited love, missed signals, and mixed messages. The performers are attractive and competent; the actors color right up to the lines of their characters, but none go beyond that, in large part because director Q. Allan Brocka (who also co-wrote the screenplay) doesn’t demand it. Upsides to Boy do exist, chief among them the colorblind casting of Andrew (in the novel which the film is based on, he’s white) and the film’s non-stereotypical depiction of a black man in a largely white queer setting—he’s not sassy or a one-note trick. All told, this is a harmless, well-packaged bit of overly familiar fluff.