Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Lauren Ambrose, Adrian Armas, Alan Ball, Jason Buchtel, Alan Connell
Director: Lindy Heymann
Genres: Comedy, Gay & Lesbian
Studio: Wolfe Video Release Date: 08/17/2004 Run time: 93 minutes Rating: Nr
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The Documentary as an Entertainment Form!
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"SHOWBOY is a fascinating little film that challenges you to decide the polarity between fact and fiction. Though seemingly a Documentary (listed on the cover of the DVD as a Mockumentary) this is a work written by Screenwriter Christian Taylor and Lindy Heymann about the transition of a young man from a writer to a chorus line showboy in Las Vegas. 'Apparently' Christian was a writer for the popular HBO series SIX FEET UNDER, but was fired and retreated to Las Vegas to lick his wounds and apparently do research for a new screenplay on Vegas performers. Lindy Hermann is a documentarian who has been shooting a film about Taylor's involvement with Six Feet Under, discovers he has been fired, and follows him to Las Vegas where she continues to shoot the life of Taylor. Taylor becomes enamored with Las Vegas, wants to get the feel of 'tryouts' and the life and training of the showboys, only to discover that in his attempt to escape his disappointment with his loss of employment, he has found a new obsession with trying to be a dancer! His preparations and auditions are caught on film and one in particular, with a very fine and smoldering dancer Adrian Armas, shows Christian Taylor's 'passions' as a gay man encountering the dream of show biz with all the accoutrements! During the course of the film we meet a roommate (Erich Miller, an actual showboy now retired), Whoopi Goldberg, and Siegfried and Roy - all representing aspects of Las Vegas showtime. While it is difficult to find the line where we are being voyeurs or being duped, this film is never less than entertaining. And as with the best of documentaries (if indeed that is what it is) we are willingly swept along with the process. Highly recommended."
VERY ENJOYABLE FILM
GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 08/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Because I am a BIG fan of the TV series "Six Feet Under", I purchased this DVD of "Showboy" staring one of the series' writers-Christian Taylor (he also wrote the screenplay for and is a co-director of "Showboy"). What a neat premise for a film that being a documentary that is not a real documentary but has the feel of a real documentary--it goes like this--a British documentary show wants to film a documentary about one of the writers of the award winning series "Six Feet Under" that writer is Christian Taylor. At the very beginning (while a segment of the aforesaid series is being filmed in Las Vegas) Christian is abruptly fired from "Six Feet"--the documentary film" crew overhears the firing due to the fact that the "firing" is picked up on the documentary soundtrack. Everyone knows that Christian has been fired with Christian being unaware of that fact. Mortified he tries to disappear by running away from his home in L.A. to Las Vegas; nevertheless, the British team, led by its fascinated host, is in "hot pursuit". They finally do find him in Las Vegas staying with a friend (along with the friend's jealous dog) trying to improve his dancing skills while auditioning to be a Showboy for various shows on the Las Vegas strip. Thus, the "mockamentary" begins because Christian pretends not to have been fired from "Six Feet Under" but he tells the British folks that he is doing research for a purposed screenplay by seeing what it takes to be a "Showboy" in Las Vegas. The host of the supposed documentary becomes fascinated with Christian and his "lie". Thus the documentary crew follows him around in his pursuit of this fake material for his screenplay. What actually is captured on film is the "behind the scenes" pursuit of a "would be dancer" in Las Vegas' "Tinsel Town" extravaganza shows. More importantly, it shows Christian being bit by the "showbiz" bug or at least his desire to be a good dancer and his determination to succeed at both and his becoming a good dancer along with Christian's extreme loneliness along with the shallowness and fake glitter of the show-biz world of Las Vegas. The films shows Las Vegas as a rather desolate dry place with fake water features, fake monuments and fake shows. (rightly or wrongly).
The "acting " by all involved in "Showboy" is superb. You really are not aware who is acting and who is a "real person". In fact, I found myself, from time to time, forgetting this film was a "mockamentary" NOT a documentary. (my true feeling is that the film used "real" dancers, dance instructors, agents, stand-ins,along with, of course, the cameos of famous people--Whoopie, Siegried & Roy, etc.) Christian Taylor is wonderful. I cried with him during the disappointing times, shared his joy when he succeeded, and also felt his loneliness and sadness when he finally told the documentary crew that he had lied because he wanted and needed their company. He is a very talented young man-I see why "Six Feet Under" is so superb-and NO he really was not fired from the "Six Feet Under" show. (Thank god!) The only part that was a little unbelievable was that Christian had no one to love or to love him--I bet in REAL life that is not the case.
If you want a finely crafted and well-acted gay-theme move, buy this film
(By the way, there is a wonderful, sexy dance sequence between Christian and a dancer that he was very attracted to that sadly was not mutual-my favorite part of the film--gorgeous! In fact there is a lot of dancing in this film--very enjoyable)
Just unfunny enough to be believed
Mark Durand | Chicago | 08/29/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"With a brilliant comic premise that sounds like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, this film fails to deliver laughs at any juncture. It passes up so many opportunities to deliver the goods.
In the world of the Mocumentry, Christopher Guest always delivers with a genuine affection for his characters, besides the humor. That is missing here. What we get is a sniveling, unfunny little weasel, who is painful to watch, unlike Larry David or his Seinfeld ego, George Costanza. There is no character development here at all. The script meanders and just leaves one with the purposelessness of this production.
To see a truly funny mocumentary, rent any of the Guest films, Guffman, Best in Show or Mighty Wind, for a funny and amusing gay oriented film, try Mambo Itialino. I have had a hope that gay themed films would have come farther by now than this tripe.
"Faction" or "mockumentary"? What it isn't is "good."
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 11/03/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Observation: When a DVD's "extras" include a game where you can guess what is real and what isn't, it is a good sign that even the film's producers weren't quite sure what was going on. Such is the case with 2002's "Showboy," a "mockumentary" (the producers prefer to refer to it as "Faction") about the tough world of show business.
Christian Taylor is a 30-something Brit, a protege' of producer Alan Ball who had a steady gig as writer/producer of HBO's successful series "Six Feet Under." He agrees to have a documentary crew film him in action on the set, and forgets that his microphone is live when he goes in for a private meeting with Alan Ball, who fires him as the show wraps its current season. The film crew hunts down Taylor, who has relocated to Las Vegas to explore the possibility of becoming a dancer, likely a "chorusboy" in a production show. Unaware that the crew had overheard his firing, he tells them that he is in Vegas to do "research" on a future film project, and has them follow him around to meetings with agents, dance classes and auditions. He lives with a friend who had worked as a dancer in a chorus, and who is honest with him that he is too old, too short and somewhat out of shape to compete with the more experienced dancers he will encounter in auditions. Taylor finds that he even has to lie about his experience and training to get an audition, but he perseveres, gradually works his way to a mediocre dance ability, and continues auditioning. A few (obviously contrived and overdone) emotional scenes reveal he is also lonely and afraid of his future prospects, and considers the film crew to be a support system in his quest. Eventually, he admits to the crew that he has been fired from the show, and asks them to stay with him for an important upcoming audition.
I've read some articles about the filming of the movie, which was originally conceived as a starring vehicle for Taylor so he would have something to do during an expected writer's strike that never materialized. Ironically, he did leave "Six Feet Under" shortly after the film wrapped, and has since done some additional writing for another series. It's hard to judge his acting ability from "Showboy," since he is essentially playing himself, but I'd suggest he stick to writing. This "mockumentary" likely was intended to be a satire of show business, but came out more of an exploitive look at those who legitimately audition for these dance troupe jobs, who believed Taylor was actually in the same boat they were. Even the stars who did cameos, such as Whoppi Goldberg and Sigfried & Roy, seem a bit embarassed by being in it. While Taylor is gay, that aspect of his life is not an intergral part of the film, except for some hungry looks at a dancer he becomes somewhat infaturated with.