Full disclosure: The screener for this film had several minutes of “skipping over damaged area,” so won’t be reviewed or rated in the usual fashion. Like being late for a curtain (twice in 12 years), it is JWR policy to review only complete productions. The most recent example being Midnight’s Children (cross-reference below) where the sound was too poor to properly hear/understand Salman Rushdie’s speech or text (doing double-duty as narrator and author/screenwriter).
There is no question that in this day and age the incidence of contracting HIV/AIDS amongst black, gay men (the filmmaker’s focus) should be virtually nonexistent in North America. However, director/writer Patrik-Ian Polk has spoiled his overarching message and point of view by starting with the “warning” then working backward to the narrative.
And so we begin with a horny, hot couple (Jussie Smollett intrigues as Magnus; Dustin Ross does his best with shallow Ryan) who have been dating platonically for five months in order to have a clean bill of homo-health on their six-month anniversary then get it on without the benefit of any sort of protection. Really??!!
Later on, Kyle (seeming as lost as the script is Anthony Burrell playing the “how ‘bout now?” opportunist from LA), the slut of the reuniting buddies (including the delightfully raunchy fag hag, Langston—Shanika Warren-Maekland readily camps up every scene) singlehandedly ushers two bulky fuckers (literally, they just gang-shagged ever-innocent Sebastian—Blake Young-Fountain happily lives up to the martyrdom of his character’s namesake) into an oh-so-conveniently-placed street side HIV/AIDS test mobile without so much as a scowl. Pardon me??!!
With every successively incredulous plot point, The Skinny loses its potential punch.
Not to be outdone, the accompanying songs (most also by Polk) are too on-the-nose or, er, over the top to subtly reinforce the images they are meant to enhance (“My b-hole is regal”).
More’s the pity. The leads look great, but what comes out of their mouths may cause not a few to press the mute button and just savour the view. JWR