In addition to the Armistead Maupin thriller The Night Listener, and Sundance winner Quinceañera, both of which are on my list, Talladega Nights opens this weekend. Though it’s far more mainstream than Night Listener or Quinceañera, AfterElton says Sacha Baron-Cohen’s sympathetic and hilarious portrayal of Jean Girard, a gay Nascar Rival to Will Ferrell’s Ricky Bobby, may surprise you:
“The filmmakers satirize the conservative stereotype of the ‘gay elite’ by including shots of Jean (who is sponsored by Perrier) sipping a macchiato, listening to classical music, and reading Camus’s L’Etranger all while driving in a race…But Girard is never treated to gay slurs or anti-gay violence in the film, and his is the life of sophistication and wealth that is envied by the other characters. Ricky’s eventual fall from grace does come at the hands of Jean Girard, but the Frenchman also plays a pivotal role in Ricky’s triumphant return.
Girard never positions himself as “other” in comparison to the heterosexual characters, and, if anything, considers himself their superior. Girard isn’t de-sexualized either, making obvious references to his sexuality and more than one pass at Ricky (who rejects the advances without incident or homophobia). In fact, the shocking end-sequence of the film is centered squarely on Girard’s gayness in an extremely positive–and extremely funny–way.”
Looks like a pretty interesting weekend at the movies for the beginning of August…
Gay Driver Laps Stereotypes in Talladega Nights [afterelton]
‘Quinceañera’: Turning Sweet 15 in Los Angeles’s Immigrant Stew [nyt]
A Long-Distance Friendship, and Then It Gets Strange, in ‘The Night Listener’ [nyt]