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Review of Fixing Frank

Based on Ken Hanes off-Broadway play, the gay themed film, Fixing Frank focusses upon just three characters.  (The other roles are so small they require no mention.)  The title character, Frank is played quite well by Andrew Elvis Miller, an appealing, if somewhat confused, young man.  He is a free lance writer, working primarily on fluff piecesl for second tier magazines.  His lover is Jonathon Baldwin (Paul Provenza in an adequate performance) is a therapist who is an zealous queer advocate.  The real power in this film is the entrancing performance by Dan Butler, who plays a competing therapist, Arthur Apsey.

The conflict in Fixing Frank occurs on two levels.  At the more superficial level, Jonathon believes that Dr. Apsey is harming gay men by trying to change their orientation.  Indeed, some of Jonathon’s clients are former clients of Apsey.  Johnathon convinces (manipulates?) Frank into going undercover to undergo Apsey’s therapy so that he can write an article about the harm that Apsey inflicts upon other gays.  The complications that arise in Frank’s quest serve as the catalyst for all of the action in the film.

It is as the deeper level of the theme of the film that Fixing Frank shines.  Instead of the ploy that Jonathon devises for Frank, what evolves is a high stakes game between Jonathon and Apsey, with Frank caught in the middle.  The play the game with all the gravity of a tetesterone induced slugfest.  While underplayed by both Miller (Frank) and Butler (Apsey), the intensity builds significantly after the first twenty minutes.  This is the best performance I’ve seen of the talented Dan Butler (who jumped to the public eye as Bob Bulldog Briscoe on TV’s “Frasier”).

An important sub-theme of the film is Frank’s propensity for lying, a trait he claims to have acquired during his years of keeping quiet about his sexual orientation.  Lying among closeted men and the difficulty of breaking the habit after coming out is a subject that I address elsewhere.

fixing frank dvd

Genre: Gay themed drama

Director: Michael Selditch

Language: English

Availability: DVD

99Gay-Men.us Rating: ****

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