“A Sexual Orientation Orientation
Professional and sexual identities are up for grabs in “The Art of Being Straight,” an unpretentious dramedy of postcollege confusion.
Set among a group of 20-something Angelenos grappling with bottom-rung jobs and starter apartments, the movie centers on Jon (Jesse Rosen, who also writes and directs), an advertising agency assistant with a sweet face and a lady-killer reputation. His looks attract the not-so-subtle attentions of his new boss, Paul (Johnny Ray Rodriguez); his past elicits the admiration of his college buddies, whose fondness for labeling all lame behavior “gay” suddenly isn’t so amusing.
Smart without being smart-alecky, Mr. Rosen’s writing avoids the aggressive cleverness and gummy politics of many similarly themed movies, focusing instead on realistic dialogue and low-key interaction. When Maddy (a delightful Rachel Castillo) takes a break from her girlfriend to wander into the arms of her laid-back neighbor (Pete Scherer), her response to his request for a condom (“I’m a lesbian”) is delivered so naturally that you can almost hear the “duh.”
Fluidly shot by Aaron Torres — whose images, like the movie, never try too hard to impress — “The Art of Being Straight” is nevertheless emphatic in its insistence that orientation, like career, sometimes needs figuring out. Bi-curious or just bi-confused, Jon and Maddy are doing just that.”