Film Review: THE DAVID DANCE

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the_david_dance.jpgTHE DAVID DANCE

Director: Aprill Winney
Writer: Don Scime
Stars: Don Scime, Guy Adkins, Antoinette LaVecchia

Review by Gilbert Seah

THE DAVID DANCE follows the adventures of a local gay radio DJ, David (Don Scime) in Buffalo, New York.

The film tackles quite a few issues. At the film start, David listens and calls a rival radio show in which an Anita Byrant type woman, June Hendley (Jordan Baker) makes her stance against homosexuals. She is against gay marriage, gay sex and almost everything gay just like the original Byrant. An easy target no doubt, David through his show gets the better of her. David then meets his new technician Chris (Guy Adkins) who pines for him. The two have met before at one of the weddings of David’s sister, Kate (Antoinette LaVecchia). The film goes into a subplot of a sibling relationship before revealing that dear old sis has plans of adopting a Brazilian girl. She needs support that he reluctantly gives. David visits a nursery, sees a baby that smiles at him and gets all baby happy. He discusses children with Chris. David and Chris fall in love.

The film flows smoothly from one topic to another. Gay films these days have the problem of originality. In the 70’s when gay films were the rage in the business, topics like coming-out, children adoption, same-sex romance, gay marriage, rent boys were all hot topics never covered before. Now 40 years later, every gay issue has been covered and films are in need for a fresh look at used topics. Unfortunately, THE DAVID DANCE touches on too many of these topics without any fresh take. The romance between two older middle-age guys is something seldom covered, but the romance is mired in melodrama and sentimentality.

One must admire director Winney for trying hard in a small budget movie. But trying is not good enough. The film plods along just like the the film’s protagonist – without much aim and just letting things come and go. And like the protagonist, the film needs more firm direction.
The film becomes extremely self-defeating towards the half way mark. Just when things begin going great for David, such as his positivity towards his sister’s adoption, his new love and his newly found boldness, he sinks back into self pity. He tells Chris that he is not ready when asked to move in with him, starts retreating from he adoption idea and turns negative on TV. During one TV spot, he goes on and on , saying: “Why don’t people just ask gays to shut up?” Maybe the filmmakers should heed the advice, shut up about the complaining.

The film has been described by a few critics as a charming little film. But the film is riddled with cliches with the tough spots that David keep running into tiresomely put in by the manipulative script. It would have worked if they made the David character a more charismatic gay man. But the actor who plays David also wrote the script, which means he likely convinced the filmmakers to cast him in the lead role.

Director Winney takes her film outdoors as much as she can, whether in a car or on the road with some well shot scenes like the hillside cemetery that David visits.

At another point in the radio show, he condemns gays as lonely people, being out of place even among themselves. He complains that he is too unattractive to dress up or go dance and have a good time. This statement makes one wonder who the film’s target audience would be. If the filmmakers are aiming at the quiet, shy and less outlandish gays to see their film, They should realize that these are the very same people that would not dish out money to go out see a movie.

The film is lovingly dedicated to the late Guy Adkins who has passed away in 2010 from cancer.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5SZz20YoSk

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