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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

Down Low ***


Starring: Zachary Quinto, Lukas Gage, Simon Rex, Judith Light

Director: Rightor Doyle

Country: USA

 

Is it just me, or does comedy really not get the credit that it’s due? There was a time when a good comedy was as big a blockbuster as an action franchise, but those days are long behind us and... well... they just don’t make them like they used to. Maybe it’s because all the comedy talent is being channelled toward TV - or maybe we’ve just become harder to amuse - but I stand by what I’ve always said; comedy is that absolute hardest genre to get right. And a good LGBT+ comedy is even more rare... which is ironic, considering how many sassy and witty gays there are out there!


Down Low is a rare beast; a plain and simple gay comedy. Gary (Quinto – Star Trek, American Horror Story) is recently divorced, exceptionally wealthy, but also dying. Having never been with a man, he hires a sex worker – the hyper-energetic Cameron (Gage – Euphoria, The White Lotus) – who insists that he needs to experience life as a gay man in real life. Signing him up for a sex app, they invite a man round, only for the encounter to end in disaster as the man falls to his death from Gary’s bedroom window. And so begins a ludicrous cover-up that involves a dark web pervert (Rex – Scary Movie franchise), a neighbour high on prescription drugs (Light – Transparent, The Menu) and a lot of petty bickering along the way.


As comedy double-acts go, the dynamic between the pair is quite fun. Quinto is so serious and dead-pan that when he does make a quip, it becomes doubly funny. Meanwhile, Gage – who also co-wrote - is effervescent, silly and painfully outgoing, like a yapping terrier with ADHD. Though the former is very intelligent and the latter very street-smart, what they both lack is basic common sense, meaning that the farce that ensues revolves around their inability to just work out a sensible plan. Or even just check his vital signs.


There are some great supporting roles, with Judith Light revelling in a part that’s absolutely ridiculous. Best of all is Simon Rex’s necrophilic psychopath, affectionately known solely as ‘Fleshpuppet’, who steals every scene he’s in.


There’s no doubt that Down Low is wildly ridiculous, which is absolutely the point. Like Dead To Me but with more sex gags, there are moments when its fast-paced humour stumbles at hurdles along the way, most significantly at the final one, with an ending that simply doesn’t work. Most comedies really thrive on the tangents its narrative takes, but the tangents here are only partially successful, with some of them feeling like our duo have completely forgotten that there’s a dead body stuffed in the hallway cupboard.


Crammed with laughs across a delightfully stupid story, this is a fun film with great performances let down by absurdist plotting. It might not be the standard of comedy we want, but then it IS the hardest genre to get right. So I hope there’ll be plenty more from this creative team.

 

UK Release: Out now on VOD, released by Stage 6 Films

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