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Damn These Heels Film Review, ‘Violet Tendencies’

Casper Andreas, 38, and Jesse Archer, 35, have been movie-making together for about six years. In 2004 they released the romantic-ish gay comedy Slutty Summer (Andreas starred, wrote, directed and produced, Archer starred). Then in 2007, they co-wrote a “spin-off” called A Four Letter Word, which Andreas produced and directed. Another three years later they’ve released another spin-off, Violet Tendencies, a modern-day comedy set in New York City. It stars Mindy Cohn (TV’s The Facts of Life), Casper Andreas (director/producer/actor), Jesse Archer (writer/producer/actor), Samuel Whitten, Adrian Armas and Marcus Patrick. The film is being screened as the Closing Night Feature for the 2010 Damn These Heels LGBT Film Festival.

“Jesse and I wrote the film A Four Letter Word (2007) together as a spin-off to my first film Slutty Summer (2004) that I had written,” said Andreas, who reprises his role in Violet Tendencies as Markus, a relationship-oriented writer. “Then Jesse went out and wrote Violet Tendencies, a spin-off to A Four Letter Word on his own. When he was working on the script I told him (which upset him greatly) that if it turned out any good I’d direct it. Well it turned out fantastic!”

“The script began as a sequel to A Four Letter Word, then morphed into its own world,” added Jesse Archer, who also reprises his role as Luke, a commitment-phobic party boy.

Violet Tendencies finds Violet (Cohn) on the brink of extinction as being the oldest living “fag hag” in New York City. She’s 40, single and living vicariously through her gay boys: Luke, Riley, Markus, Darian and Zeus. Her only outlet to the “straight” world is through a phone dating service, but to which she continually finds herself being rejected. Her blind dates are turned off by her vulgar and uncouth demeanor, and possibly her “rural” Idaho features.

When Violet rescues her co-worker Salome (Kim Allen), a modelesque beauty (and symmetrically anorexic), from the dangerous side effects of malnutrition, Salome promises to teach Violet how to “manifest” herself a man.

Unfortunately, Violet quickly realizes her dating skills are awkward and seriously unpolished — the sequence of events during this “coachable” time in the film is probably the most notable. Cohn’s comic delivery, though impeccable throughout, is above reproach in both the diner and cat suit scenes. Her body language and expressions alone are hilarious. “Mindy is very talented and professional and everyone loves her,” said Archer. “When she talks about her anal health in that chirpy, sweet voice, she just brings something to the role that nobody else ever could.”

“Mindy is a great comedian,” added Andreas. “She has a fantastic ability to quickly figure out how to make a scene as funny as possible, with how she chooses to say her lines, but also equally important, her wordless expressions to what the other characters are saying or doing.”

Eventually Violet hits pay-dirt with Vern, also an Idaho transplant, and a non-practicing Mormon and architectural geek. She begins to shed her fag-hag role, spending less and less time with her gay boys. “Both Riley and Luke, her [Violet] closest gay friends, take notice and are bothered about her distancing herself from them very early on,” explained Andreas. “However, I don’t think they realize at first how serious it is.”

Andreas’ character, Markus, is a novelist who wants to have a baby with his boyfriend Riley — who never imagined in his “entire adult gay life that the topic of children would ever come up.” “I feel like I’m stuck in a small world,” says Riley as he sits curled up in a play pen nursing a vodka bottle. “Hostage on a boat with all those little Dutch kids singing.”

Archer’s character, Luke, throws sex parties, and his playboy status pushes his semi-boyfriend Darian away. “I got cockmatized,” Luke explains when Darian notices hickeys on his body. When Darian finally dumps him for good, Luke realizes just how much he loves him. “Luke has never fallen in love before, never even uttered the word,” said Archer. “In Violet Tendencies, the slut has finally met his match! Luke is still on his knees, but for a whole new reason.”

When Violet starts showing up to work in a mumu and refuses to introduce Vern to the boys, they are forced to hold an intervention. “You’ve always been unconditional … and we support you no matter who you choose to love,” says Riley in a corny (but in a good way), yet tender scene. “But your heterosexuality is hurting us in the following ways … .”

The story won’t blow you away with originality, but it’s fun to see a recurring theme through a different pair of eyes. “The movie is the coming out story of a straight woman who is aided by her gay male friends,” said Cohn. “And when I say coming out, I mean in the debutante way, not sexually.” Plus, it’s interesting to see how Markus and Luke have evolved since the previous films. “Markus is searching for love in Slutty Summer … though he tries to get over an ex by sleeping around,” said Andreas. “In this film he starts out in a very happy relationship and is ready to take things to the next level.”
Also, Archer has written a pretty solid script, albeit a little on the raunchy side: “Stop calling my pussy a gash wound!” Violet warns. Plus, if you’re unfamiliar with FUPA or “biss,” you’re gag reflex will go into overdrive. There are a lot of subtle quips that are absolutely hilarious. Plus, Archer’s drunken-dial scene will have you doubled-over in laughter.

Andreas’ direction is nearly flawless, and even the most simple scenes leave a mark in your mind. The connections between the characters are realistic, funny, sweet and endearing. But again, the one thing that puts this movie above the rest of Andreas’ films (all of which have never failed to entertain) is Cohn’s brilliant performance. “[Mindy] is fearless and doesn’t worry too much about how she will be perceived, but just goes for it,” said Andreas. “Which of course is exactly what we needed for this outlandish character, Violet.”

Violet Tendencies is the Closing Night film at the 2010 Damn These Heels Film Festival, Sunday, June 13, 6 p.m. at the Tower Theatre, 876 E. 900 South. Visit damntheseheels.org and violettendenciesmovie.com.

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