While movies with a gay perspective on heterosexual mating habits might not be expected to display a sympathetic point a view, at least a little authenticity is a must. And Jeff Lipsky’s Twelve Thirty dodges just that, as it drowns in an overabundance of words in what might be termed small talk cinema. And as a closeted gay middle aged spouse (Reed Birney) self-liberates from a woefully dysfunctional nuclear family, fleeing ecstatically from that all-female Cuckoo’s Nest.
The exact opposite of silent movies, this all talk and no action libidinous romp can’t seem to stop yapping. Whether talking during sex, talking about having sex when just about to, or right after. On the other hand, little of this dialogue sounds real, and Lipsky’s familiarity with women seems about as intimate as close encounters with aliens from Mars. These predatory sexual aggressors with decidedly macho words put in their potty mouths, also appear to share a peculiar genetic disposition for wagging their nude posteriors in the air on all fours, when provocatively summoning male erotic attention.
Birney is Martin Langley, the giddy absentee suburban patriarch currently shacked up with the male love of his life after discovering his homosexuality. But who does stop by now and then to say hi to his two abnormal adult daughters – promiscuous, sarcastic Mel (Portia Reiners) and older, perpetually sulking Maura (Mamie Gummer). And to have incidental gabby sex with Mom (Karen Young), who’s neurotically taken to spending time in her own closet while Dad just found his way out of one. That is, conducting a lucrative business peddling expensive furs from her bedroom closet, which suits her fine since she’s an agoraphobic not into leaving home anytime soon.
There’s more. Mel seduces and abandons nerdy coworker and former high school classmate Jeff (Jonathan Groff). Who gets even, so to speak, by date raping her sister Maura at a party in yet another closet, and then stopping by the Langley residence where he’s pleasantly cornered by Mom for a session of stranger sex. Then Dad gets awfully mad about the date rape and invites Jeff back to the house, in order to stage a fake belt whipping of, no not the rapist but the victim. To possibly demonstrate his paternal devotion but ostensibly because she allowed it to happen, take your pick.
Rarely has such a vibrant ensemble cast been assembled for much ado about absolutely nothing. Not to mention that Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer and Halley Feiffer, offspring of Jules and who plays Gummer’s satanic best friend, prove emphatically that apples can indeed fall quite far from the family tree.
Twelve Thirty Productions Unrated 1 [out of 4] star