Jason Tseng

Review: Were the World Mine

Filed By Jason Tseng | November 28, 2008 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment
Tags: gay movies, movies, Tanner Cohen, Tom Gustafon, Were the World Mine

Timothy (Tanner Cohen), the lone gay boy in at an all-boy prep school weretheworldposter.jpg(filled, evidently, with a sea of hetero, testosterone-driven, male eye candy) regularly escapes the mundane reality of his homophobic high school with fantastical gay daydreams of scantily clad, dancing rugby players and unrequited loves made real in his imagination. When cast as the mischievous Puck in the annual production of the school's all-male production of Shakespeare by his eccentric drama teacher (Wendy Robie), Timothy discovers a hidden recipe for the play's magic love-inducing pansy.

Armed with cupid's love juice, Timothy sets out to balance the scales of his close-minded town, but as we saw in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, "the course of true love never did run smooth," and unfortunately neither did this film.

Tom Gustafon attempts to draw upon Shakespeare's story of transformation and love, and recreate it into a modern day gay fantasia. Now, I was really excited about this film. A movie musical featuring a coming-of-age gay story centered around Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's dream? That's my high school experience compounded into a feature length film! Sign me up! I should have loved this film... I love musicals, I love Shakespeare, and I love gays. But I came away with a disappointing feeling of unfulfilled potential.

Timothy spends his time enduring the homophobic chiding of his classmates and longing after and daydreaming about Jonathan, the captain of the rugby team and paragon of heterosexual masculinity. After school, Timothy escapes to the safety of his non-judgmental and nonconformist friends: Frankie, a free-spirited singer songwriter and her twinkie boyfriend, Max. Timothy's eccentric drama teacher convinces Timothy to play Puck in the Morgan Hill annual Shakespeare production. While memorizing lines Timothy falls into a trance which unlocks a secret recipe for the magical pansy from the play. Timothy inadvertently squirts Max with the magical ichor causing Max to strip down and throw himself onto his unsuspecting friend.

Realizing that he holds the key to all of his dreams Timothy rushes to rehearsal where Ms. Tebith has conveniently casted the majority of the rugby team. Timothy puts Jonathan under his love spell, and after vocal pronunciations of disgust from classmates Timothy runs around squirting his classmates and turned the macho rugby team into a lustful gay orgy. He continues to wreak havok on the town making the homophobic rugby coach fall in love with the school principle, Jonathan's girlfriend fall for his vocally non-lesbian friend Frankie, and a host of same-sex attraction. With the whole town thrown into a homo-disarray, and Timothy gone M.I.A. indulging in his rugby jock wetdream, Ms. Tebith attempts to "make amends" by gathering the town at the evening's theatre performance. Will Timothy give up his power over love and his dream of love with Jonathan to restore order and free will?

WTWM.JPGI thought Were The World Mind suffered from a case of identity crisis. It tried to straddle gay teen flic and fantastical musical extravaganza, and achieves neither. The musical interludes are confined to Timothy's imagination, but these scenes are where the film sings (literally) and beg to be set free. The real world rather is filled with lame gay caricatures, mediocre acting, and an unfortunate case of undeveloped characters, most notably Timothy's misfit friends, Max and Frankie.

The jumps between dream sequences and the harsh homophobic reality are awkward and confusing. One can see why Timothy would want to spend as much time in his dreamworld of scantily clad fairies, seeing how the real world is filled with caricature relationships that often feel more like a public service announcement than realistic human interactions. Timothy's mother, Donna, who struggles to send him to the elite and evidently virulently homophobic prep school Morgan Hill, gets a job working for the headmaster's wife, Nora, and her door-to-door cosmetics business. The ever eccentric Nora reacts with disgust and abhorrence when Donna admits that her son, Timothy is gay. This happens again when Donna tries to sell cosmetics to a prospective client, who promptly begins spouting Leviticus.

Timothy's eccentric, Shakespeare reciting, dreamy-eyed drama teacher is another odd case of poorly constructed character. Wendy Robie performs well with the role she is given, which unfortunately suffers again from an identity crisis. It is clear that Ms. Tebbit is magical in some capacity, she gives Timothy the script from which he discovers Puck's recipe for the magical pansy, and she also at another point appeases an angry mob of disgruntled parents with seeming powers of magical persuasion. While she represents a clear Titania analogue, her character is so poorly developed that what might have been a rich focal point for the film's mythology falls flat.

All in all, I thought that Were The World Mine was a great concept, but poorly executed. The music and lyrics were probably the most enjoyable part of the film, although the choreography was largely forgettable. If you're content to sit back and enjoy the music and plenty of exposed skin, turn off your brain and critical eye and enjoy.


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I have the screener here on DVD. Things have been so hectic lately and originally someone else was going to review the movie, so I hadn't gotten around to it yet. I really thought it had possibilities, so I'll keep your critique in mind as I watch it. I know you've already seen it, but I find myself hoping it'll do better than you gave it credit for. LOL

(Although one thing I didn't realize was that it was a musical. Maybe I did originally, but I'd forgotten about it.)

This review sucks. Meandering. Poorly supported. Lacking in intelligence. I've seen the movie. Ms. Tebbit is clearly not Titania - for one obvious thing. She's Oberon, if any character from Midsummer.

The internet sucks for one major reason. Everyone can suddenly think their a critic. Read what the real ones have to say...

http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/11/21/movies/21were.html

Hey mymistake,

I'm sorry you felt the need to name call because you disagreed with my post. But I'm not the only person who thought the film could have done a lot better.

Here are a few examples. I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving and hopefully won't revert to pettiness in the future.

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117936947.html?categoryid=31&cs=1
http://www.nypost.com/seven/11212008/entertainment/movies/were_the_world_mine_139922.htm

Okay, we watched it. It just finished.

I agree with Jason totally. It falls flat and it falls hard. At one point I got up, went outside and had a smoke while leaving the movie running. It wasn't any better when I got back.

Frankie and Max were horribly under-developed. Jerame and I both thought those two plus the drama teacher should have been constructed better. They really could have helped the movie. (And Max can fall for me any damn day of the week. Yowza.)

But I do have to say that I hope to see Tanner Cohen in something else with better production quality. He did a good job, but it wasn't nearly enough to carry the flick.

I'd give it a D+.

This is an uninformed review (not to mention website). I have to say.

I went out to smoke too - and this stupid website was still here. Actually i don't smoke. It's almost as nasty as the tone of this reviewer.

Seriously - any schmuck who doesn't like this movie (even through whatever faults it may have) has to be crusty (or on their way to being crusty), sad, mad at the world and jaded. A total curmudgeon. It celebrates the best of what we can be. Mischievous rabble rousers with wit and heart.

I am a groupie - I admit it - and I have seen it 4 times at festivals and at the theatre and EVERY SINGLE TIME the audience applauded at the end. And once, even gave the film a standing ovation. When's the last time you experienced that? Probably never.

And if Tanner read this (hello - I go to school with him) he'd laugh his head off. He loves the movie for what it is and more and is extremely proud.

Uninformed? What do you need to do other than, oh, watch the flick? :)

I'm glad you like the movie, hilarious. It had it's bright spots. I was really hoping for the movie to be well done; I specifically asked for a screener of this one since the trailer was so good. It just didn't live up to it's potential.

Oh - and tell Tanner we say "Hi!" He was the best part of that film. Tell him we'll be rooting for him to get a better part next time!

I think whenever somebody tries to attack their opponent's character rather than their opinions... I think it's indicative of a lack of legitimate platform. Joe Biden put it wonderfully, "What do you do when you have nothing to say? Attack."

I didn't even think that my tone on this review was all that harsh! I just think that it could have been much greater. It's definitely a fun little divertissement with plenty of eye candy and fun dance tunes. But I was hoping for something deeper and better constructed. It was decent as far as gay films go... and considering the small budget, limited resources, etc. they did a perfectly decent job at creating a perfectly decent film. But I hardly found it ground-breaking or note-worthy.

Please feel free to share your opinions on the film and leave the childish insults on the playground.