Miss Coco Peru:
”I remember the first time I met him. Oh yeah, it was two years ago, Gay Pride Day, I was on the train going home from the festivities, and he was sitting across from me sleeping. But, he wasn’t really sleeping. Oh, no. He was pretending to sleep because he knows he looks like an angel when he’s sleeping and not the anti-christ he really is. And, even though I could tell he was fakin’, I went along with it. Call me crazy, I don’t know. Anyway, we started talking and he gives me some line about some old lady he lives with and he asked if he could go back to my place. I told him, ‘I don’t invite strangers to my apartment’. And then he looks down at his crotch and then back up at me, and he says: ‘It’s big, it’s beautiful and you’re gonna love it.’ I said: ‘Oh, alright’, and as he walked me back to my apartment on that gay night of nights, he took my hand gently into his, and for a moment I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.”
The sweet and sour, sassy Trick (1999), directed by Jim Fall from a crisp, funny original screenplay by Jason Schaferis, is a sort of queer take on Martin Scorcese‘s crazy classic After Hours (1985) with a dash of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They all take place within a 24-hour period and they follow a lead character through his misadventures during one memorable night. Trick is thoroughly engaging romantic movie, in its own way conventional except that the romance is between two males. If it sounds gooey, trust me, it is difficult to knock a film that is as genuine as Trick.
Gabriel, played by cutie-pie Christian Campbell, is a young, struggling musical theatre songwriter who feels that he does not fit into the gay world. His best friend in the bubbly Katherine (an excellent Tori Spelling), an actor who auditions accompanied by Gabriel on piano using his musical numbers. After her bad audition using his newest song “Enter, You”, Gabriel takes the unusual step of going a gay club where he eyes muscular go-go dancer, Mark (J.P. Pitoc). On the subway ride home, Mark is sitting across from Gabriel, and immediately suggests that they find a place to be alone.
The rest of the film follows Gabriel and Mark as they go through the night looking for a place to “trick”. No matter where Gabriel and Mark go, something goes terribly, absurdly wrong, until it eventually doesn’t seem to matter anymore; their potential one-night-stand becomes a budding romantic relationship.
The whole thing is rather magical. Ignoring the clichés of so many low-budget LGBTQ-themed films, including “coming out” and HIV, Trick is neither serious-minded, or “meaningful”. Instead, it centers lightly on the characters and their relationships with each other, especially on Gabriel and Mark, and Gabriel and Katherine.
Campbell is adorable as shy Gabriel, who doesn’t have much experience with love, romance, or sex. Pitoc as Mark, gradually reveals the complex layers under his hot appearance. Spelling shows a surprising, nimble gift for comedy. Her last scene is unexpectedly poignant, as we learn that Katherine dated Gabriel in high school before he knew he was gay, and still has deep feelings for him.
Yet, superstar Miss Coco Peru steals this film. Her words of wisdom to Gabriel while in the club bathroom, brings us today’s #QueerQuote.
The dreamy cinematography is by Terry Stacey, and the music score, with a nod to the great Golden Age musicals is by David Friedman. Trick looks luxe.
A sequel to Trick is in development, Earlier this summer on The Facebook, Fall made the announcement, just in time for the film’s 20th anniversary. Oh, and by the way, today is Miss Coco Peru’s birthday. My sources tell me she will be back for the sequel.