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Big gay twists: they're b-a-a-ack--those wacky, wonderful supporting characters who turn out to be gay in the last reel. Thanks, Hollywood! We feel included! (Film).

Remember lesbian chic? Hollywood doesn't. For those who keep track, it seems that every other mainstream film in the past year featured a supporting gay male character, from the wacky wig-wearing neighbors of the stinky Sweet November to the retro closet-busting 1981 camp counselors of Wet Hot American Summer. (True, Pam Grier, Clea DuVall, and Joanna Cassidy play lesbians in Ghosts of Mars, but they get killed off one by one and need Ice Cube to come to the rescue.) The twist? This was the year of the Big Gay Lug, the manly, lumbering brute or squat, rotund male who--surprise!--got caught checking out the dudes instead of the chicks. A brief, mostly butch list:

>> SAVING SILVERMAN: This early-2001 comedy flop features the obnoxious Jack Block as a member of a Neil Diamond tribute band who falls for his former high school football coach, R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket's brutal boot camp sergeant). They get married at the end. Did they register at Foot Locker?

>> THE MEXICAN: Emmy-winning Sopranos star James Gandolfini is a hit man who gets clocked cruising another guy in a diner by Julia Roberts, thereby making him the highest-profile bear sex symbol of the year.

>> THE SCORE: Marlon Brando wins the Subtext Award for mentioning his character's homosexuality only in press interviews. You'll have an easier time figuring out who's double-crossing whom in this heist caper than you will decoding Brando's same-sex signifiers. (Was that a lisp, Marlon?)

>> RUSH HOUR 2: Former Ellen costar Jeremy Piven prances his way through his cameo as a retail queen, giving Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan the jitters. They were expecting something different from a Versace boutique?

>> CORKY ROMANO: Chris Penn is the Mafia muscle outed by his effeminate heterosexual brother, Corky (Chris Kattan). Terrifically unfunny, this comedy does, however, contain the zingiest PFLAG moment of the year, as mob dad Peter Falk barks, "I love ya, you big gay bastard?"

>> THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE: Character actor and Coen brothers staple Jon Polito tries to seduce Billy Bob Thornton by grabbing his crotch with one hand and his own toupee with the other. Thornton is not amused.

>> THE ONE: Speaking of not amused, action star Jet Li is furious when he discovers that one of his many parallel-universe identities is "married to a man."

>> JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK: Jason Lee, the vociferous homophobe of Chasing Amy, winds up as punch-line arm candy for cartoonist Dwight Ewell (Punks).

>> WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN? The worst thing would be not to see this otherwise forgettable Martin Lawrence comedy and miss a wickedly funny turn by William Fichtner (Go's creepy cop) as the smartest, swishiest detective in recent memory. And he makes pre-Stonewall fashion sense seem modern.

>> FROM HELL: Irish actor Susan Lynch (Nora) plays a lesbian prostitute whose rough work on the London streets gets rougher when Jack the Ripper shows up. She does manage, however, to get more off-the-clock lovin' than the rest of the painted ladies, Heather Graham aside.

White writes on music and film for iFilm.com.
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Article Details
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Author:White, Dave
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 22, 2002
Words:513
Previous Article:From Rent to Russell: Anthony Rapp talks about costarring with Russell Crowe--and the bisexual subtext--in the Oscar hopeful A Beautiful Mind. (Film).
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