We know the old adage – to write what you know. But doing that involves some risk, since we’ve seen enough thinly veiled autobiographical debuts as of late. Charlie (Christopher Schapp), also considers himself an old soul, which is the most tiring description of a protagonist ever. With that character trait comes the Prom King, 2010’s premise of a person who “[reconciles his] homosexuality with classic, cinematic ideals”. I don’t see him pulling that off here, although if he did the film would have been insufferable. He walks around New York. He has a poster of John Wayne. Where’s the next step?
Schapp also serves as the film’s writer/director. He tries to bring to life an awkward character who falls in love too easily. He has once to his his close college friend Thomas (Adam Lee Brown). He’s also fooled around but not to his expected level. He is an openly gay New York student turning 21, like the protagonist in that Larry Kramer novel. What he does succeed in showing is this perception that LGBT have that time is ticking. This makes him take a few but equally irrational chances. There’s also the wry humourous situations that a character like him goes through.
Schapp drops an Allenesque reference or two without the jazz hands. Well, there’s that scene where he convinces a potential love interest to reenact a scene in Manhattan. It moves deliberately, from one directionless hookup to another, to the ups and downs of his college friends’ relationships. It’s a subtle approach but with that comes a missing spark. The film’s aesthetic is crisply colourful but not as transformative as the movie that might have been in Schapp’s head. Some moments in the film hints at a potential, but he needs to commit more in his next work.