Variety Review: Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!

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A New Generation Films and North by Northwest Entertainment presentation of an Oy Vey My Son Is Gay production. (International sales: New Generation Films, Los Angeles.) Produced by Evgeny Afineevsky, Svetlana Anufrieva, Igor Zektser, Rich Cowan. Executive producers, Volodymyr Tertchnyi, Desmond Child, Alexei Diveyeff-Tserkovny, Kristina Korban, Josef Mamaliger. Directed by Evgeny Afineevsky. Screenplay, Joseph Goldman, Martin Guigui, Afineevsky.

With: Lainie Kazan, Saul Rubinek, Vincent Pastore, John Lloyd Young, Jai Rodriguez, Bruce Vilanch, Shelly Burch, Alexandra Mamaliger, Carmen Electra.

You don’t expect subtlety from a movie called “Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!” — let alone one toplining the likes of Lainie Kazan, Bruce Vilanch and Carmen Electra. Even so, this dopey farce’s dated cluelessness is almost awe-inspiring, reminiscent not only of such hoary, stereotype-addled “tolerance” lessons as “Norman, Is That You?” but the kind of bad late-’60s comedies with aging stars (like Bob Hope vehicles “Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number!” and “How to Commit Marriage“) that even then felt like filmed suburban dinner theater. Ancillary beckons, though a late October theatrical opening is threatened.

Thirtysomething Nelson (John Lloyd Young) lives with partner Angelo (Jai Rodriguez) but remains closeted to his family, while they continue to try to fix him up with a nice Jewish girl. After they mistake centerfold neighbor Sybil (Electra) for his fiancee, he finally comes out, prompting conniptions and barn-door-broad efforts at acceptance from mom Shirley (Kazan) and Martin (Saul Rubinek). Vilanch plays an uncle no one suspects is also gay (?!).

Vincent Pastore (“The Sopranos”) is Angelo’s father; being Italian-American, he naturally appears to work for the Mafia, just as Jewish Martin labors in the garment industry, and Shirley shouts “Oy gevalt” or “Oh my gaad” every 10 seconds while fingering her heavy jewelry. Flamboyant Angelo is — what else — an interior decorator.

The sitcom-like screenplay, which one might suspect has been thawed after several decades’ deep freeze, fails to properly develop comic situations and character psychology even by its own crude standards. Debut director Evgeny Afineevsky’s major prior screen credits were producing some of Menachem Golan’s most obscure, latter-day efforts.

Camera (color), Peter N. Green; editor, Michael Southworth; music, Lilo Fedida, Eddie Grimberg, Desmond Child; music supervisor, Michael Lloyd; production designer, Vincent DeFelice; set decorator, Angela J. Smith; costume designer, Lisa Caryl; sound (Dolby), Sean Gray, Tom Taylor; assistant director, Alexander Yurchikov; casting, Donald Paul Pemrick, Dean E. Fronk. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (First Films — competing), Aug. 29, 2009. Running time: 90 MIN.

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