The Trip

The only thing The Trip elicits is a collective yawn. This glimpse into eleven years of a romance between two men is notable in that it is one of the most boring romances in recent memory. As the latest film in the gay canon, it doesn't do anything new. Instead, it probably takes a step backward by insisting on using every sing stereotype available for gay men. Writer/director Miles Swain began with an urban legend. Two men tried in Mexico tried to board a plane in Mexico, and were denied because one looked like he had AIDS. Instead, the two men took a road trip back to the United States. Swain stretches out this five-minute story into a feature length movie, losing everything that made it interesting in the process.

The romance blossoms quickly between Alan Oakley (Larry Sullivan, Forbidden City, Psycho Beach Party) and Tommy Ballenger (Steve Braun, No Man's Land, Scalpers). The two are complete opposites. Tommy is a proud gay activist, who flaunts his sexuality to any who will listen. Alan is still in the closet and in deep denial about his sexuality. The year is 1973, and Alan is a prim and proper Republican, writing a book on homosexuals. He interviews Tommy and immediately falls for him. For no discernible reason, the two fall deeply in love and move in together. It would help if there was some chemistry between the two, but there isn't. Swain shifts forward a couple years, and now Alan is out in the open, and finds his book published, which ruins his relationship with Tommy. And so on, and so forth, and blah, blah, blah. The two go their separate ways, and sooner or later must cross paths again. Swain then turns The Trip from a dull romance to a lame road trip with stupid attempts at humor.

Swain tries to tie in the relationship with important events in the history of gay civil rights. He has noble aspirations that fail miserably. Only those familiar with events and names will recognize anything that happens on screen. It feels self-serving on Swain's behalf to pretend that his characters play such an important part in the history of gay civil rights, especially given that they are such boring people. Alan and Tommy, aside from how Swain defines them (Tommy = out, Alan = neurotic, then neurotic and out), the main characters have zero personality. Alan is a boring person, and becomes increasingly whiny as The Trip continues. Smaller characters like Alan's old girlfriend Beverly (Sirina Irwin, The Sky is Falling, Can I Be Your Bratwurst, Please?) are just annoying. The Trip spans eleven years, and sadly feels that long.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 93 minutes, Not Rated but contains minor nudity and some sensuality, should be a PG-13 but would probably get an R.

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