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March 8, 2013

Evenings Out

Salty, bitter tears

Not-love story just never seems to get it right

Everyone’s mother has told them at some point or another, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

That ends this review of Saltwater by Charlie Vaughn, out now from Ariztical Entertainment.

Okay, there are probably some good things that can be said about the film. Not many, mind you, but some. Let’s start with a synopsis and work our way from there.

Will (Ronnie Kerr, who also wrote the screenplay) has just gotten out of the Navy after 14 years. He goes to stay with his friend Rich (Bruce L. Hart), who is eager to set him up with gigantic Australian former Navy man Josh (out former rugby player Ian Roberts), who was booted from the Aussie Navy before they let gay men and lesbians serve openly.

On their first date, surreptitiously set up by Rich, the two get into a huge argument because Will does not feel the need to be out and proud everywhere, while Josh almost had his life ruined because he refused to be anything but true to himself.

Over the next excruciating half-hour, the film keeps skipping ahead in time to meetings between Josh and Will. When one is single, the other is dating. Will is a prude. They’re both whiny. It just never quite seems to be the right time for them.

Then tragedy strikes, and the two of them are thrust together again. It looks like they might finally get their acts together, and then whammo, their mutual bitchassery (well, it’s mostly Will’s) derails them again. Roll ending credits.

Certainly, there’s a glimmer of hope they might get it together at the end, but it hardly seems likely.

It also does not seem likely that Kerr will get out of the direct-to-video gay ghetto if he doesn’t put forward some dialogue that is not quite so stilted and hackneyed.

There is also a problem with the editing. Certain scenes have dialogue that, if the lines were cut together a little tighter, might seem witty, but instead, someone speaks, and then the other person waits for two seconds before responding. It’s incredibly annoying.

Berna Roberts’ Christine is one of the few people who emerge unscathed from this mess. Kerr’s dialogue for her is crisp, and she delivers it well. Almost everyone else, however, comes off looking like they’re trying just a little too hard to remember their lines.

Oh, certainly there is some attractive manflesh on display, all of the muscle daddy to twink variety, but eye candy can only help so much. Vaughn also directed Vampire Boys, so he obviously does not believe that to be true.

Roberts’ role as one of Lex Luthor’s henchmen in Superman Returns was more organic a performance than this, although he does deserve credit for taking his first gay role when coming out might possibly have derailed his rugby career 20 years ago. Instead, he held his head high and probably beat the unmitigated crap out of anyone who called him a faggot. He is, after all, 6’ 5” and built like, well, a rugby player.

I feel bad for Jonathan Brett, whose Hank comes off as a horny loser who can never get laid. Russell Dennis Lewis’ Collin also gets short shrift from the other characters, and both are just cute as buttons.

Ultimately, however, it’s just a pretty dreadful film, without even the saving grace of gratuitous nudity. People sunbathe in their backyards in shorts in this film. Really. Oh well, maybe there’s some butt shots in Vampire Boys 2.




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