Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk
Story by Q. Allan Brocka
Released October 24, 2008
Review by Stephen O. Murray
February 9, 2009.
I wish that I had not seen Sex and the City: The Movie so soon before watching Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom. Both are movie followups of cable TV series (Sex on HBO, Noah’s Arc on Logo) centering on the wedding of the central character, a writer in both instances, and the shaky state of the relationships among some of the writer’s circle of best friends.
Noah’s Arc has frequently been described as a black gay Sex and the City. Like Carrie Bradshaw, Noah [Darryl Stephens of Boy Culture] has a very extreme wardrobe, though not the nattering about labels.
Like Carrie, Noah has been looking for love. Noah is convincingly in love with Wade [Jensen Atwood, who also played Griffen on Dante’s Cove] far more than Carrie seems to me to have been in love with Mr. Big in their off-again, off-again romance. Having come to terms with being in love with a (flamboyantly gay) man, Wade seems more in love, less resigned to marriage than Mr. Big. Both of these grooms accept their spouse’s circle of friends in the respective movies.
Wade is physically a trophy husband far more than Mr. Big is. Mr. Big has the wealth to support Carrie in a style to which she aspires, whereas Noah is making more money than Wade. Mr. Big has to work his way through cracks about “the third time’s the charm” for his third wedding; Wade has internalized homophobia to deal with along with not-so-paranoid beliefs that Noah’s friends remain suspicious of him.
Carrie’s friends do not want to protect her from getting what (or whom?) she wants.
Although the last season of Sex and the City decamped for Paris for a number of episodes, it was a very New York series. The Noah’s Arc series was set in L.A. The movie is set in snow-covered Martha’s Vineyard (on Cape Cod, which is played by Nova Scotia), the oceanfront vacation mansion that Wade’s grandparents bought or had built. That the same-sex wedding is going to take place on Wade’s home turf is a demonstration of his commitment.
As throughout the series, there is no sign of biological family in the Sex and the City movie. Acceptance and rejection of gay sons is fairly central to Jumping the Broom. A new character, Brandon [Gary LeRoi Gray], a student of Chance [Douglas Spearman], is brought along by the sexually voracious (Samanthaesque) Ricky [Christian Vincent] and is inspired to phone his parents and come out—a bit ahead of the host groom…
There will be mothers, though Alex [Rodney Chester] seems Mama enough, popping pills to supervise the wedding.
I don’t think that Noah and his friends are as superficial as Carrie and hers. Adding someone young and in need of emotional support to the family of choice is one indication. The men don’t get as bent out of shape by lapses as Miranda does by Steve’s (already ancient) confession in the Sex and the City movie. Yeah, yeah, they are men and gay men… but Miranda is ’spozed to be a NYC sophisticate.
For superficial and conspicuous consumption, there is Baby Gat [Jason Steed] the (Jamaican?) rapper-turned-actor who is going to star in the screenplay Noah has written and who shows up to try again (and again) to bed Noah. And Brandy [Jennia Fredrique], the black female Paramount executive overseeing the movie, who also shows up in time for the bachelor parties (one for each groom).
Unlike Carrie, Noah’s fantasies of the wedding do not get in the way, though he wonders whether Wade is getting cold feet about marrying a man. I think that Noah’s Arc touches on real issues (not least HIV-transmission and same-sex marriage), not just fantasy wedding perfection.
It is difficult for me to imagine, but there must be some (Matthew Broderick) who find Sarah Jessica Parker more attractive than Darryl Stephens. I feel that I have watched Stephens grow up, not just across the arc from pilot through series to movie of Noah’s Arc but from being a Berkeley drama student (Jason in Medea: The Musical, etc.) through being the title character of a TV series to the big-screen heart-throb in Boy Culture and Jumping the Broom.
The DVD is loaded with bonus features, including a dozen deleted scenes (a couple with only a bit of deleted material, but two of which show encounters of characters other than Noah and Wade that I think should not have been deleted), 20 minutes of “Shirt and Skins” highlights, “Noah’s Wedding Video” (all of the wedding dance), a director’s video notebook, and a making-of featurette in which everyone is enthused about everyone else’s work and the project, including series-fan Phoebe Snow who plays both the wedding and a local bar where one of the bachelor parties takes place.
Certainly, fans of the series will enjoy the wrapping up in a wedding bouquet (for each series). Perhaps the Sex and the City movie stimulated some people to go back and watch the television series for the first time. I’d guess that a higher proportion of the audience for Jumping the Broom will seek out the two seasons of Noah’s Arc (in part because I know that a substantial percentage of the Sex and the City movie was involuntary!). Sex and the City has lots of gratuitous nudity; Noah’s Arc has only a brief shot of Rickie’s posterior but has a number of shirtless scenes (recalling to me Stephen, in Medea, asking why he is always displaying his torso and being told by writer/director John Fisher: “Because you can…”). Stephens still looks very good indeed shirtless, as do Atwood and Vincent.
BTW: broom jumping was a ritual originated among slaves forbidden to marry (as Californians of the same sex again are).
Published on epinions 4 February 2009
©2009, 2016, Stephen O. Murray