I have a five-minute test when it comes to indie gay romantic comedies. If the acting is so wooden, or the set-up is so silly, or if the damned queens give me so much gas, that I can’t get past that first five minutes, I’m done. Most of them fail. Broadway Damage passed the test on the strength of its mostly believable performances (one exception in the, ah, colorful overweight heterosexual female friend — can you sense the word I’m euphemizing? — but she had a lot more crazy dramatic water to carry, so I don’t hold her occasional flat-ness against the actress, Mara Hobel). I actually watched the whole thing. That’s saying something, because even though I’m gay, and once participated in the gay culture industry in a small way, I don’t often turn in that direction for my entertainment, and when I do, I have less patience for mediocrity than usual. If it’s going to say that it speaks to me, then it had better, you know, speak to me.
So here’s a brutally quick review. The story takes too long to get going. There is sentimentality (I know! In a romantic comedy! Shudder!) The quips and barbs, especially Cynthia’s, come across as too carefully selected and polished, too thoroughly set up. You imagine that the screenwriter’s friends must have said these things at some point back in the eighties and he carried them with him until he had an excuse to use them, then forced the script to the point where it could serve as that excuse. One of the characters (Hugh Panero’s David) is obviously somebody’s Mary Sue, leading to a sudden and unbelievable (given what has gone before) conclusion.
All that said, watching Broadway Damage was not time I am unhappy to have spent. It was okay. Not as good as an average episode of Will & Grace, but okay all the same. There were some nice moments, too. I’m just a mean old bitch.