Monday, November 8, 2010

A Decade of Dreck #33: Testosterone

Charge Shot!!! is celebrating the end of the decade in the most masochistic way we know how - by watching and writing about the 100 worst movies of the last ten years as defined by film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Click here to see RT's complete list, click here for more about the Decade of Dreck project, and click here to see all of the movies we've done so far.

I've been pretty fortunate with Decade of Dreck so far: most of the films I've been forced asked to cover have been fairly large releases, interesting public failures, some with expectations higher than others that I've been for the most part intrigued to discover what went wrong. But what happens to bad movies that nobody ever heard about? The ones that stay undiscovered like they should? Enter Testosterone.

Why Testosterone is called "Testosterone" I could never tell you. By the sound of it, you might think it a nuanced study of masculinity. Well, it's not. As far as I can tell, the title was decided on solely because this is a "gay" movie, i.e. the main character is a homosexual.

Producer 1: "Hey, I've got a gay movie and I need a title. What's something that only men have and women don't?"

Producer 2: "Penises?"

Producer 1: "Nah, 'Penises' is already in production over at Warner Bros."

(Joke's on you guys, chicks have it too! Testosterone, not penises. Well, maybe some do, but that's not to say they're any less of a woman, shit, slippery slope...)
Dean Seagrave is a comic book artist (graphic novelist!) with a bad case of writer's block. His first book, Teenage Speed Freak has made him "America's sweetheart" but now he's struggling to produce a worthy follow-up. On top of this, his Argentinean boyfriend Pablo (pronounced "paa-blow") has mysteriously disappeared. What's a guy to do? Why, hop the first plane to Buenos Aires and sloppily noir about like you have nothing else to do!

Upon one's first reading the plot synopsis (the official, producer-approved one, not mine of course) one might be fooled into thinking Testosterone could be a mildly okay, or as we say in the Midwest "kinda different", movie. Hell, there's the comic book artist (graphic novelist!!!) as private dick! Might that be some sort of commentary on how a producer of pulp fiction reacts to a situation out of one of his creations? No? Oh, he's gay? Maybe there'll be some neat insight into the homosexual underworld of Buenos Aires? No? Shit.

Most of the movie is occupied by star David Sutcliffe confronting under-introduced friends and relations of his wayward Argentine lover and asking them something along the lines of "Where's Pablo?" only to have them either angrily tell him to give up his search (women) or coyly trying to fuck him (men). When we find out what actually happened to Pablo, would you believe that it's really stupid and Dean finds out through no action of his own? Because that's what happens.

Spoiler alert for those of you silly enough to want to see Testosterone after reading this. Turns out, Pablo went to Buenos Aires to marry a girl from a good Argentine family who works across the street from his family's home in a cafĂ© (wait, prominent daughters of Argentinean society work as waitresses?) and would you know it, she's one of the first characters Dean meets in Buenos Aires. Dean discovers this through no clever detective work, he literally spends an hour and a half getting nowhere with his quest, only to happen to walk down the same street Pablo is getting married on. Nice going there, Philip Marlowe.

Testosterone has no reason to exist. It isn't thrilling enough a detective story, steamy enough a gay adventure, or smart enough to be a movie at all. Unless your particular areas of interest are specific enough to trisect indie comics, Argentina, and GLBT fiction, you'd probably best sit this one out. Or go to your local video store, buy as many copies as you can, and set them on fire.

Testosterone is ranked #87 on the Rotten Tomatoes Worst 100 list with 6% freshness. Its RT page can be found here.