Straight-Jacket is the second film from Richard Day, who graced audiences last year with the vile Girls Will Be Girls. On a happier note, Straight-Jacket, based on his play of the same name, is a much better film, mostly because of the lack of men in drag spouting constant toilet humor. There's still one guy, but he's on screen for a limited amount of time. Instead, Day treats viewers to the colorful, zany world of the fifties, where being gay was still a no-no, but nobody is more gay that Hollywood superstar Guy Stone (Matt Letscher, Identity, Gods and Generals), who is also vying to get the lead in Ben-Hur. The main thing stopping him is the constant rumormongering of his sexuality. It's no surprise, since Stone runs through men like candy.
His agent Jerry (Veronica Cartwright, Kinsey, Twisted) concocts a publicity plan where he marries a woman in order to trick the public on his sexuality. This way, he can seem 'normal' and get the role. They choose Sally (Carrie Preston, The Stepford Wives, The Legend of Bagger Vance), the naïve secretary who idolizes Stone and, despite all of the obvious evidence, has no clue that he is gay. The marriage proceeds, and Stone successfully dodges out of his spousal duties by playing on the blissful ignorance of Sally. At the same time, he meets Rick Foster (Adam Greer), the author of the leftist story that Stone is currently starring in. Foster is different, and Stone finds himself wanting a relationship instead of the typical one-night stand. Typically, Stone is the type of person who will say whatever needs to be said to get what people want, but will then do whatever he pleases.
Day fills the script with verbal zingers and double-entendres, most of which are more likely to cause groans than laughter. This is a shiny happy comedy, but with a serious subtext of discrimination, both political and sexual. McCarthyism is at its height, and Foster is forced to tone down the union aspects of his story. Meanwhile, the relationship between Foster and Stone heats up, causing more rumors of scandal. Foster is more in tune with the world than the shallow Stone, and their relationship forces Stone to step out of his little fantasy world and address some serious subjects. Still, Day finds ample opportunity to ratchet up the camp. The acting is amusingly artificial, and everybody, especially Preston and Letscher, look like they're enjoying the joke, but the premise is a little too thin and the story a bit too flat to work.
|Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.|
|1 hour, 36 minutes, Not Rated but would probably be PG-13 due to thematic material, possibly an R.|
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