Lie Down With Dogs
1995, R, 84 min. Directed by Wally White. Starring Wally White, Randy Becker, Darren Dryden, Bash Halow, James Sexton, Michael Richoz.
REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., Aug. 18, 1995
The life lessons learned by by the gay Everyboy in Wally White's semi-autobiographical Lie Down With Dogs don't evoke much of an empathetic response: As the cliché goes, you had to be there. It's an experience much like being cornered by someone at a party for an enthusiastic telling of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” -- the holiday, in this instancce, spent in homo-friendly Provincetown, Massachusetts -- and wondering if the story has a point. In Lie Down With Dogs, the somewhat aimless Tommie decides to leave Manhattan to pursue a summer of love in P-Town only to be disappointed by scarce jobs, freeloading boyfriends, and shallow acquaintances there. Along the way, there are some insightts into the lifestyle that dares not speak its name, but the double-edged nature of such a way of life is never fully realized, seemingly touched upon only in passing and without any real emotional weight. (Can a movie be too lightweight for its own good?) Part of the problem is White's persona, both as director and leading man. He's likable enough (almost goofily so), but there's something about him that's too ingratiating; without any edge to his perspective, the film's voice is something akin to first-person whine. You can forgive the cheesy narrative devices in Lie Down With Dogs -- White loves to break through the fourth wall, with coy results -- but it's difficult to get past the gut feeling that this first feature is mostly self-indulgence. The best thing about this movie is the on-target performance of Becker as the boyfriend from hell, who's good for nothing more than bumming cigarettes and kitchen-table sex. He epitomizes everything that's missing in this film: the rough, the brash, the not-so-nice. When Becker is onscreen, Lie Down With Dogs is all bite.