Down Low

Down Low
Down Low
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It won’t be long before Down Low takes off. In fact, within the opening minutes of director Rightor Doyle’s (Bonding) fabulous yet frenetic farce, Gary, a tortured soul, prepares for his first sensual gay massage from Kory who casually spread oil over him while classical music played in the background. It quickly goes south and sets the scene for this raunchy yet surprisingly charming movie.

“I apologize,” complains Kory, an arrogant hipster Gen-Zer, “These songs are giving me PTSD; can we change it to something not so traumatic? It’s like I came at a funeral.” A beat. “Your house is also cool btw. It’s hot in here.”

Down Low is just as amazing as that quirk you have been waiting for and so much fun too if you can ignore the fact that it is as deep as a demitasse. Think of it as a gay cousin to Bridesmaids, Neighbors and The Hangover trilogy all in one. Zachary Quinto does very well here as Gary, ‘the 40-something’ trying out some same sex action for the first time. On the other side, White Lotus hero Lukas Gage (Euphoria, You) plays Kory that spells with K — intentionally spelled with a K — who pushes Gary beyond his limits. But then someone dies… And now it begins.

Phoebe Fisher co-wrote Down Low with Lukas Gage; one of them was behind TV’s I Know What You Did Last Summer series”. LGBTQ audiences will find tons of dirty jokes amusing here. Will mainstream audiences be equally rabid about these flicks? Bros – arguably one of smartest comedies last year – turned out to be box office dud in spite being among best gay rom-coms ever made were back in mid-2022 . No offense though because Down Low isn’t exactly sharp, yet it is smart and it’s likable even though too often it hovers around like a butterfly on drugs enjoying its own outrageous imaginative thrusts.

It dawns on Kory that Gary’s “massage” marks his first time with another man. Therefore, they have to take a break. They sit on the couch in Gary’s palatial mansion that boasts, among other things, an enormous if not gaudy painting of Gary and family. Divorce backstory told now; however things get nasty really quickly for this sex-positive twink when Gary drops a bomb on him. Not giving in to self-pity at all, Cameron tells Gary to go out there and have some fun. But, whether or not he wants this is questionable. Lastly – one set up on a gay hook-up app later — Plunger — and soon enough, there is some masculine “down low” guy knocking at the door downstairs. It’s Pretty Woman with a twist for party boy Cameron.

“You’re not gay until you’ve hooked up with somebody on an app who looks nothing like their picture,” Cameron quips. He has trouble with the “straight” guy (Sebastian Arroyo) because he gets too bold—no pun intended—to his mouth. In some act of miscommunication, the stranger accidentally tumbles down from the second floor balcony window. Poor thing! And poor Gary! That’s no way to start your journey into dating and hooking up as a homosexual male child! The comedy takes a fun dark turn here as Gary and Cameron figure out how to deal with the corpse.

There’s something about Down Low that is truly so refreshing, and it is the fact that it treats its viewers with respect. In addition to being a writer, Lukas Gage happens to have a good sense of acting. Interestingly enough, he has got the zing that energizes the screen and page as well in this case. He adds Cameron a prickly egotistical dimension. A self-aware person like Cameron. More importantly, how to lead and come through it all; this is what he knows best. This makes him a perfect match for Quinto’s understated Gary who has delved into his gloomy past.

Nonetheless, Quinto comes at an opportune time. And oh!! What a relief! It is nice not seeing this actor involved in any Ryan Murphy production where his characters are always highly exaggerated and oftentimes repulsive especially on American Horror Story. Quinto is not such a bad actor after all. I would love to see him in other roles where he can give more grounded performances. By all means Quinto does capture very accurately what kind of man Gary has become if not currently changing into with the assistance from Cameron considering how crazy things were going on around here.

It’s actually musical number time now, isn’t it? Yes I know that one too happened in Down Low but luckily, it wasn’t distracting at all from the main plotline just like we feared earlier on… Concerning this… The B-players make their appearances here and there every now and then abruptly interrupting some serious developments happening between Gary (Lucas Gage) and Cameron (Zachary Quinto) regarding getting rid of dead body they had found out about earlier on. This goes on for awhile before overstaying its welcome finally although let us just go along with it since this happens to be black comedy film after all.

Another character even crazier than those mentioned above was Simon Rex playing himself. Simon Rex may be the guy who would help Gary and Cameron get rid of this thing. In a moment, that’s it; the movie turns even darker. Nevertheless, it is amusing to see how Quinto, Gage and Rex sort things out with each other, while Gage plays his part off in response to his co-star’s rough assertive environment. Don’t worry about not knowing anything yet.

The dialogue in Down Low is very enjoyable. A matter of fact: It tastes good when clever one-liners mostly come from Cameron’s mouth. “My dad being gay is only better than him as a Reiki master.” Or “I am like human poppers – I just open everyone up.” At some point, Cameron finds something that Gary’s ex-wife (Audra McDonald) appears to have sent him as well as all their friends nearby. This elegant card has an atmosphere of “my-husband-wound-up-being-gay-and-we’re done!” Similar vibe can be seen in this card which looks like an invitation but is actually a eulogy for the straight you as Cameron quickly points out to Gary.

Finally, you think that everything in this movie has already been revealed and wrapped up neatly just before its last 15 minutes prove you wrong completely! It’s so bad that it becomes good enough at the end. The dark comedy lies within it all though. That’s precisely what Down Low offers anyone who dares pay a close look at it afterwards Writer Lucas Gage and Phoebe Fisher are smart enough not to dumb down their work for anyone who happens to be watching them; they know exactly who their audience is supposed to be.They might be exclusive for LGBTQ community nevertheless mischiefs demonstrated here are universal attracting regular audience too.Let alone keeping anything back, there is something delightful about totally exposing oneself thus enjoying every bit of the facade.Frankly speaking, this seems like what Gary needs to overcome.

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