Coffee Date

Written by Kate Findley

Screening as part of Outfest, Los Angeles' gay and lesbian film festival, Stewart Wades debut feature, Coffee Date, is less concerned with outing its protagonist Todd than with examining stereotypes that are associated with sexual orientation. Stereotypes, the movie asserts, exist for a reason, but they are also just that–stereotypes–and therefore dont apply to everyone.

Todd (Jonathan Bray) is impeccably groomed, enjoys low-fat lattes with whipped cream and nuts, and believes that Amadeus is Milos Formans best movie. He also insists hes not gay.

Unfortunately for Todd, he sets off the gaydar of everyone within a two-mile radius, including his brother Barry, who posts Todds singles ad under Men Seeking Men on an Internet dating site. When Todd shows up for his coffee date, he discovers that Kelly is not the VGL (Very Good Looking) chick he was expecting, but a cool guy nevertheless, played by Jonathan Silverman.

As both guys are film buffs, and Todd invites Kelly to join him for an Ingmar Bergman screeningnot, like, on a date, but as friends. Afterwards, they play a little trick on Barry by walking past him hand-in-hand into Todds bedroom. Panicked, Barry moves out of the apartment and calls Todds motherShes your mothershe should know.

An effusive whirlwind of maternal obligation, Todds mother arrives to offer home-cooked meals and support. She introduces Todd to the head of PFLAG ( Parents & Friends for Lesbians and Gays), who wears a Im Proud My Son is Gay T-shirt. Still, his mother flees the room when she meets Kelly for the first time (I just wasnt ready for this), finding his overt gayness a bit too much to handle. Never mind that Kelly isnt even Todds boyfriend.

The discrimination that Kelly and Todd face is hardly momentousthis is West L.A., not the Midwest. Still, writer/director Wade reveals that while people are eager to accept homosexuality, theyre not always willing to understand the realities of sexual orientation.

Were behind you one hundred percent, Todds boss tells him when the rumor spreads that Todd is dating Kelly, yet he doesnt listen to Todd when he explains that it is only a rumor. People are just as concerned with exploiting and exotifying gayness as they are with celebrating it, and nobody wants to pass up the chance to out somebody else.

Coffee Date grows a bit repetitive as most of the movie focuses on Todds sexual ambiguity, a cycle of outward denial followed by an inner nagging that maybe these people are onto something. However, each cycle offers a new twist as the humor grows increasingly more absurd, and Jonathan Bray and Jonathan Silverman are charismatic as Todd and Barry. The movies flaws may mirror real life since sexual labeling can be repetitive. How many times do we need to be told that Tom Cruise is gay, and who really cares