I Can’t Believe I Just Watched This!: “Loverboy”

Occasionally I’ll watch a movie and afterwards wonder if I was too harsh on other movies. Yes, Divergent, Mrs. Doubtfire and Myra Breckinridge are that bad, but Loverboy is such a bad film, best lost to time since it is so heavily dated, it makes Catch Hell look like Casablanca.

Randy Bodek (Patrick Dempsey) is a college student who has a girlfriend, Jenny (Nancy Valen), but is often distracted by partying and other stuff. As it turns out, he’s failed nearly every class and his father, Joe (Robert Ginty), is sick of paying for college. Randy turns to delivering pizza for a Mexican-themed pizza restaurant, but is invited to have sex with an older women, Alex (Barbara Carrera). After telling her his woes, she starts paying him for sex, so Randy becomes a gigolo. Meanwhile, his father thinks he’s gay and his mother thinks her husband is cheating on her.

Patrick Dempsey is a great actor and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of his acting on Grey’s Anatomy. The thing is in this film, which he was 23-years-old when it was released, he looks way too young for this film to not be gross. After you watch this movie, you will definitely need to take a shower. And the thing is, it’s not just he has an affair with an older woman. He is paid to have sex with older women and he unwillingly becomes a prostitute because the number for the pizza place gets passed around. And no where is there a scene where someone is reaching for a condom, not even a hilarious scene where Randy is carrying a massive amount of condom boxes, some falling to the floor as he walks.

The film is also rated PG-13 and there’s a part of me that feels like if it was rated R and more explicit about the sex, it would be more enjoyable, but I also think then you would feel the desire to burn your DVD player because of how gross you’d feel after watching this film. All that’s shown that’s sexual is post-coital cuddling and licking and some heavily obscured scissoring. Everything else we’re told happens while Randy dances with women and feeds them ice cream. (I really wish I was making up everything I just typed, but I’m not.)

There’s also the rampant gay panic in the film, which makes sense given when this film was released. It was released in 1989 and at that time we were still thinking of AIDS, which was fairly new at this time, as being a “gay disease.” This is similar to the attitudes expressed in Myra Breckinridge and Mrs. Doubtfire. The problem is this feels more like a bad farce plot point with a mistaken identity since Randy tells his dad he’s staying over with a guy and a Italian man drops off a suit for Randy with a note from Alex. This then leads to Joe talking to Harry Bruckner (Vic Tayback, who I mistook for Robert Loggia) about how his son couldn’t be a “fruit”–the film’s word, not mine–because just look at these pictures of his son playing sports. In fact, this film does have this idea that gay men can’t be interested in sports because later Joe asks Randy if he wants to toss the ball around.

In fact the film in general feels like a bad farce. There’s a lot of sneaking around, mistaken identities, misunderstood comments–such as Diane (Kate Jackson) thinking Joe is having an affair because she hears some noise and her husband simply tells her, “Oh those are just some hookers.” There’s a huge climax where the husbands of the women hiring Randy try to find him, only to beat up Randy’s pimp because the man actually being hired by their wives couldn’t be the guy they’re looking for because Harry has been told he’s gay. This, by the way, happens around the time Randy almost has sex with his mom, who has gotten her son’s number from her doctor (Kirstie Alley), who hired him.

But none of this is enjoyable partly because it has a really young Patrick Dempsey who looks barely legal in the lead role. Even if you bumped up the age, it would be a slog because a huge part of it is made up of montages of Randy dancing and doing things that aren’t having sex. At least Catch Hell, which had some problematic issues, was made enjoyable by watching Ian Barford chew scenery. Even Myra Breckinridge is more enjoyable than this because Myra Breckinridge is like watching two cars hit each other, leading to a pile up before being hit by a train.

This is an inherently disgusting concept at almost all areas. The only way this could possibly be worth watch is if it was a guy in his 20s or 30s and does not look like he just hit the age of consent, who becomes a gigolo voluntarily after his girlfriend leaves him and he learns how to be a better lover in the process, but I pretty much just described the film My Awkward Sexual Adventure, except for the male sex worker part. (Also, My Awkward Sexual Adventure is a much better movie.) With the rest of the movies I’ve written about, I can see why they were released, but I don’t know who thought this movie was a good idea.

And I really could have used that condom scene.

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