Pretty White Boys with Problems: Costa Ganis and Near-Verbrugghe
At first glance, Lazy Eye, the new gay romantic drama from director Tim Kirkman (Loggerheads) is standard queer cinema. Dean (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) is a generic white dude with a handful of first world problems: he’s a graphic designer but it’s just not, you know, artistically satisfying! He’s got a lazy eye, ergo the title. He’s got a husband who’s away filming for months at a time. And dead mice keep turning up in the saltwater pool outside his second home. (Yes, that legit is one of his problems. It’s that kind of a movie, folks.) Then, his ex Alex (a smoldering Aaron Costa Ganis) e-mails him out of the blue wanting to reconnect. A weekend getaway at the second home is arranged, and over the course of several fraught days, much soul searching ensues. And since this is a gay movie, a fair amount of pay cable man-on-man canoodling transpires, too.
What elevates Lazy Eye, occasionally, above these banal particulars is the casting of and palpable chemistry between the two leads. Dean is necessarily less compelling than the enigmatic Alex, but Near-Verbrugghe does a capable job playing him. Costa Ganis, meanwhile, is perfect as a wonderfully gay, masculine, sexy guy who for years has haunted Dean as the One Who Got Away. There’s even some interesting detours involving 9/11 and bisexuality (although the latter gets short shrift). A moment of casual intimacy in the car feels palpably real, and we buy these two men as soul mates torn apart by life circumstances.
Michaela Watkins, sadly, is mostly wasted as the Female Best Friend. (There’s no payoff for her character, which stinks.) But what really underwhelms is the ending. I won’t spoil it, but I found it completely unsatisfying, especially after investing 90 minutes in these dudes and their drama. Lazy Eye is a pleasant way to kill an hour and a half, but not much else.
LQQK Rating: Queerness-4; Quality—2 Lazy Eye is available streaming and in limited theatrical release.