A queer Big Chill, or a Boys in the Band for the '90s. Like Mart Crowley's famous unhappy homosexuals, the "boyfriends" of this low-budget, bittersweet British comedy gather to celebrate the birthday of one of the bitchier members of their set, Paul (James Dreyfus). Directed by Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger in a mere 18 days, Boyfriends features a trio of gay couples in dysfunctional relationships. What's planned as a relaxing weekend in the country finds our boys feverishly bed-hopping, engaging in three-ways and secret woodland trysts, breaking up and reuniting, but most of all torturously trying to connect -- or disconnect. Social worker Will (David Coffey) sets the tone for the film when he entices a trick to join him for "a chance to see a group of well-adjusted homosexual men" who turn out to be anything but. Among a competent cast, Darren Petrucci registers strongly as Adam, an endearingly brainless fuckhound, and the great Dinah Washington adds an ironic blessing with a spirited version of "I Wish I Knew the Name (of the Boy in My Dreams)."
-- Gary Morris
Boyfriends screens Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 3 and 4, at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 p.m. at the Castro, 429 Castro (at Market). Tickets are $6.50; call 621-6120.