The Stream: Predictable romantic comedy tropes fill the plot.
The Big Screen: A diverse cast with great chemistry.
The Final Bill: A funny and engaging film with a distinct point of view.– Trip Fontaine
Director: Andrew Ahn
Writers: Joel Kim Booster
Stars: Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, Margaret Cho, Conrad Ricamora
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating: R for strong sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some nudity
Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes
Production Companies: Jax Media, Searchlight Pictures
Hey, Streamers! It’s summa summa summertime, summertime. People want to go on vacations, but gas prices are so high. We go to the movies to escape instead. Not only the theaters, but the streaming services are overflowing with films that take us to our most desired destinations as well. Now, I know it’s July, but June was Pride Month, and Hulu added to its celebration by releasing Fire Island, a major motion picture about gay best friends having a weeklong vacation at their summer destination. We can tag along. Here’s how the trip went.
Joel Kim Booster wrote Fire Island as an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The film follows a group of friends, Noah, Howie, Luke, Keegan and Max, going out to Fire Island for a week of fun, laughter and love. The group shares the home of their mother-figure, Erin (Margaret Cho), who is having some money troubles that will affect the future of their trips to their summer destination. As these Austen adaptations go, there are dashing romantic interests that linger at the margins; but Fire Island looks at these men through the lens of the impossible and largely discriminatory standards of beauty for gay men on Fire Island. Nevertheless, Noah insists that he will help his best friend, Howie, find love that week – or at least hookup; but, Noah isn’t without prospects himself. Fun-loving hijinks ensue.
Romantic comedies can be pretty predictable, especially when they have such well-worn source material, such as Pride and Prejudice. Fire Island, however, has a unique point of view. It is very funny and has imbued its characters with traits and personalities that have not been the focus of many mainstream movies before. Joel Kim Booster’s script is smart and funny. It has an emotional center built around friendship and fun that makes the movie really engaging. The biggest problem is that the main love story is kind of rote and cliched. That part of the story is so predictable that it takes away whatever magic there could be. Nevertheless, the actors, particularly, Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, and Conrad Ricamora, are all very good and have great chemistry among each other.
All in all, Fire Island is a fun movie even though it is a predictable romantic comedy. There are good jokes, and the cast has nice chemistry. It is good to see such a diverse point of view presented in an otherwise typical story. This movie is a nice escape for a hot summer evening and to celebrate Pride with a box of popcorn.