"RENT STRIKE" declares the front page of the New York Blade currently on newsstands.
"What's so bad about the blockbuster musical's big-screen debut? Plenty. Page 19."
"PLUS: Five things to do instead of seeing 'rent'"
(page 2 of the paper: a full-page ad for Rent! haha. I bet they'll be advertising elsewhere next week.)
The movie review
, by Editor Tray Butler, does find some things to compliment; he approves of most of the casting, the way the plot was somewhat edited, and of the Joanne/Mimi relationship.
But in the end, it doesn't cut it:By comparison, the gay male storyline fizzles. Wilson Jermaine Heredia gives drag queen Angel a tangible humanity, and his costumes steal most every scene. But Angel’s romance with Collins (Jesse L. Martin) never takes flight. It bears all the trimmings of a relationship, and the two even kiss.
But compared to the girls, these guys come across as positively chaste. It’s a classic straight man’s rendition of queer sexuality: Sure, we’ll let the lesbians go at it, but if two dudes smooch, one of them better be wearing a dress.
And therein lies the essential contradiction of “Rent.” Its subject matter might shock (or even educate) a middle-aged soccer mom, should she stumble into the wrong theater at a Red State multiplex. Not so for the rest of us. To anyone who knows a thing about being gay today, who has experienced the reality of AIDS firsthand or who’s ever sat through an actual drag show, “Rent” comes across at best as dated, and at worst as cloying and borderline insulting.
Bad news, Bohemia, but the yuppy scum have won.