Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Like It Is

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Like It Is

Article excerpt

When the pooh-bahs of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation convene to brainstorm for their next media awards orgy, they should reserve a special bejeweled trophy for England's Channel Four Television. No single production company on either side of the Atlantic has done more to further the visibility, dimensionality, and dignity of gay folk on-screen.

Happily, Channel Four also makes good movies. Like It Is, the company's latest guy-guy romance, is a quintessential Channel Four product (being distributed by First Run Features). As in Beautiful Thing, with which it has already been compared, the boys are pretty, and the setting's often gritty. As in Hollow Reed, the sex scenes push the envelope of British censorship laws. As in Alive & Kicking, people work. It may be glamorous or rarefied work to some of us, but it still takes its toll.

Matt, for instance, is a rising dance-club entrepreneur and music promoter. If you asked him how he earned his paycheck last week, though, he would tell you about how he baby-sat a trio of wet-nosed pop idols and coaxed a stage-frightened disco diva out of a toilet stall. Craig, his new boyfriend, spars in illegal bare-knuckle matches in the northwestern English borough of Blackpool and roughs up the occasional drug dealer for an extra buck.

Unlike American love stories, Like It Is devotes relatively little time to the awkward mating dance that brings its lovers together, focusing its gaze on the labor that threatens to pull them apart. Much of the film dwells amid the high-wire music world of Matt (Ian Rose), a sexed-out, coked-up city boy described by his roommate as a "serial shagger." The street-sawy Craig (the soulful and sad-eyed Steve Bell, a real-life featherweight champ) is no match for the machinations of Matt's club-star roommate Paula (Dani Behr) and his mentor, a rapacious music executive played with smarmy effectiveness by Roger Daltrey. …

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