Like It Is
Directed by Paul Oremland. Starring Steve Bell, Roger Daltrey, Ian Rose, Dani Behr. (1998, NR, 90 min.)
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Feb. 12, 1999
Alert to fans of The Who: Roger Daltrey is at his campiest best in this gay love story from Britain. He plays the part of Kelvin, a deliciously unscrupulous record company and club impresario, a vicious old queen whose regular collagen injections and steady diet of fresh young boys keeps him trim and ever-ready. For laughs, it seems, he tries to draw a wedge between young lovers Matt (Rose) and Craig (Bell). The other one who tries to keep them apart is Matt's roommate Paula, a singer who inexplicably resents Craig's intrusion. Kelvin and Paula are the story's antagonists. The movie's real focus is on the relationship between Matt and Craig. That the story keeps throwing these fabricated hurdles in love's path is part of the film's inconsistency. Director Oremland does little to smooth out these narrative bumps and instead repeats the blocking of nearly similar tiffs and nightclub frenzy again and again. However, the nature of the relationship between Matt and Craig is unusual for gay screen romances. Their courtship is slight, it's the difficulty these opposites face when trying to stay together that's the dilemma. Matt, who is described as a “serial shagger,” works for Kelvin as a music promoter. He meets Craig on an out-of-town trip, but their attempt at sex reveals that Craig has some issues to work out regarding his homosexuality. Craig earns money boxing in illegal bare-knuckles fights, but soon moves down to London to seek out Matt. But the fast-paced world of the druggy club scene is a bit out of Craig's ken. Like It Is has a welcome realistic feel in its emphasis on work, the unspoken language of cruising, and Daltrey's deft skewering of the music business. The performances are all solid but the characters lack real depth or emotional growth.