In his relatively brief career, writer-director Damion Dietz has
specialized in campy comedies that feature an undercurrent of sadness.
(I'm thinking of
FAG HAG  and BEVERLY KILLS). He moved to more
dramatic fare with
NEVERLAND, which re-imagined J.M. Barries'
PETER PAN as a gay-themed drama set in an amusement park. Now,
with his fifth feature-length film,
LOVE LIFE, Dietz has moved into even
darker territory.

      This film is about a seemingly complacent married couple. Joe Hahn
(Stephan D. Gill) is a retired professional baseball player married to
Mary (Stephanie Kirchen). The union is really one of convenience; it
quieted any rumors about Joe's sexuality when he was playing ball and
it made Mary's wealthy mother happy to have a son-in-law. Since both
Joe and Mary are gay (or at least bisexual), the marriage was mutually
beneficial. They even have an agreement that each can participate in
extramarital relationships as long as those liaisons remain detached from
emotion. With Joe now retired from professional sports and working
as a coach and Mary struggling to maintain an image more suited for
her mother, the couple are beginning to develop problems. Dietz even
goes so far as to have their surroundings reflect the chaos in their lives
as their home is undergoing renovations.

      Things gradually shift for the pair when Mary's college roommate
Aura (Jill Cozine) arrives for a visit and stirs up old emotions. (It seems
that she and Mary may have been more than just "roommates.") For
his part, Joe has taken to trolling a nearby public park for sex partners
until he hires Thomas (Keith Bearden) to landscape their yard. Joe and
Thomas draw closer as Jill and Aura rekindle old ties.

LOVE LIFE turns out to be a small but pungent tale of how living a
lie -- no matter what the intentions -- is not the best thing one can do. The
film is basically a four-hander and the cast makes the most of their roles,
with Cozine and Bearden registering a tad higher than the titular leads.

                                      Rating:   B
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
Love Life