Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Alex Strangelove: Movie Review

From immature boys to a refreshing coming-out tale of first love.
Alex Strangelove starts off as the worst possible teen sex comedy. Immature boys so obsessed with losing their virginity to the point that they literally don’t talk about anything else but still throwing in homophobic jokes in between all the dick jokes. You’ll be wondering why you’re even watching and what decade you’re living in. The good news is that it’s not really a teen sex comedy, at least not in the same vein like all the other American Pie knock-offs. 2018

Directed by: Craig Johnson

Screenplay by: Craig Johnson

Starring: Daniel Doheny, Madeline Weinstein

Eventually Alex Strangelove morphs into a sweet coming-of-age film about discovering your sexual identity. Alex (Daniel Doheny) meets the perfect girl. Claire (Madeline Weinstein) is perfect – she’s perfect for him, she’s the perfect character that a film like this desperately needs and she’s the perfect portrayal of that character. She’s so perfect that she’s just like Alex’s best friend. Too much like his best friend. She has noticed that they haven’t had sex yet, and he’s the one desperate to have sex. So what gives? Well he hasn’t figured that out yet.

Antonio Marziale and Daniel Doheny in ALEX STRANGELOVE. Photo credit: Wally McGrady. Copyright Drama Party Inc.
There’s an exploratory element to Alex Strangelove that recent teen gay comedies have been missing. Love, Simon for instance, Simon knew he was gay, he just hadn’t come out yet. Alex truly, and very honestly, thinks he’s straight, even when he starts questioning it his immature friends are less than helpful and he goes right back to assuming he’s straight. The heteronormativity element was handled well in this film, the homophobic jokes from the immature boys not withstanding.

The teenage boy sex comedy part of the film is prevalent throughout. The comedy is weak and Alex’s friends were highly immature and very annoying characters. Eventually Dell (Daniel Zolghadri) wore me down but he should have been a better friend from the beginning. The rest of the movie, a gently amusing tale of first love, is where the heart really lies. Alex, mostly unaware, falls for Elliott (Antonio Marziale) an out gay guy from the other side of town. Meanwhile, Alex thinks he’s in love with Claire, and neither of them know why their perfect relationship is falling apart.

I loved Claire. I readily related to her. I agreed with all of her reactions to Alex’s unintentional lies, and felt her pain when she was put in the awkward position of being in love with your best friend who can’t love you back. Even if he wants to.

The romantic drama element of Alex Strangelove is real, refreshing and very engaging. There are off-putting daydreams and aggravating teenage boys, but for those that need a movie like Alex Strangelove in their life, it’s easy to look past all that.

Similar Titles:

Handsome Devil

Date and Switch

Love, Simon