Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom — the big-screen resolution of LOGO’s canceled TV show about four black gay male friends livin’ and lovin’ in West Hollywood — opened in select cities last weekend. I caught a sold-out show Saturday, in Chelsea, and it was the best moviegoing experience I’ve had since the 20th anniversary outdoor screening of Dirty Dancing at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Not because the writing was better than it was on the TV show (sorry), but because the crowd was into it from the moment Noah (Darryl Stephens), propped his knee-high boots up on the deck of the ferry carrying him to his wedding weekend on Martha’s Vineyard. (There was actual applause.)
SPOILER ALERT: After the jump, I walk you through the film, annotated audience response and special guest commentary from the gentleman who sat directly behind me in the theater. Normally, I’m not a fan of people talking back to the screen, but a clever gay is an exception. Especially one who sees the Quantum of Solace trailer and says, “Alright. It’s a date, baby.” To Daniel Craig.
So, as previously established, the film finds Noah, Ricky (Christian Vincent), Alex (Rodney Chester), and Chance (Doug Spearman) preparing for Noah’s nuptials to Wade (Jensen Atwood) — which are being held at Wade’s family’s home on the island. The highlights:
• Wade’s entrance: Greeted by applause and hooting.
• Brandon (Gary LeRoi Gray), the student of Chance’s that Ricky brings as his date (and who Ricky announces has a crush on Chance), asks Chance’s husband, Eddie (Jonathan Julian), if there’s only two types of gay men — sluts like Ricky or jaded bores like him: Collective “Oooooooooh.”
• Sometime after Alex refers to Chance and Eddie’s daughter Kenya as “little Ethiopia” and before Brandon spots Ricky hugging Noah, looking up at the night sky, and describing the stars as “God’s diamond sprinkled on black velvet”: My friend Robb grabs my notebook and writes, “This is so bad. I could leave.” (I smack him. I’m enjoying every moment Alex, who’s taken it upon himself to cook every meal and sew the wedding ensembles, is onscreen.)
• Wade asks Noah “Whatchu lookin’ at?” The man behind me, hereby referred to as MBM, answers, “You!”
• As Alex pops caffeine pills in the kitchen, Brandon comes out on the phone to his mother, who disowns him. Sobbing, he ends up sleeping between Chance and Eddie. Ricky goes off into the woods to get off with a local and is arrested. Wade and Noah get busy. MBM: “Ta da!”
• Wade does sit-ups while wearing blue boxer briefs: Multiple gasps from audience, discussing what appears to be a rather impressive visual effect.
• Ricky gets dropped off at the house in a cop car (MBM: “There she come”). He takes a shower (Butt shot, No. 1, I note!). Brandon tells Ricky that the reason he has sex with everyone is because he won’t admit that he’s actually in love with Noah: Gasps all around.
• Baby Gat (Jason Steed), the closeted rapper still set to star in the gay action movie Noah’s writing, shows up to woo Noah and further piss off Wade. During a heated discussion about the state of their marriage, Eddie slaps Chance. Chance runs into the house and trips over Alex, who’s passed out on the floor. Noah insists Alex get some sleep while the others finally begin to help with the wedding to-do list: Montage! With voguing!
• Alex presents Wade and Noah their groom-and-groom caketopper. MBM: “Oh, look at that.”
• During the
afterschool specials bachelor parties, the four friends, now in the house hot tub, talk about whether it’s okay for couples to stop using condoms. When Alex says he and Trey have been together 11 years: applause!
• Eddie and underage Brandon take Wade to a gay-friendly straight bar for his bachelor party. Brandon explains that he’s still trying to figure it all out — how to be a black man that doesn’t dress like 50 Cent or Terrell Owens, the categories of butch and femme. He asks Wade if he ever wants Noah to f— him. Wade says, “Who says he doesn’t already?” (Crowd: “Whooo!”) Wade says it takes more courage to be yourself than to pretend your someone you’re not; Noah is braver than he is. (Crowd: Applause!)
• Noah drunk-dials Wade’s parents to invite them again to the wedding and finds out that his mother has no idea who he is or that Wade is even gay. After Noah does a pratfall off his chair, he goes to answer the doorbell wearing only his small swimsuit. Ricky totally checks out his butt. Crowd, especially me: “Oooooh!”
• Baby Gat and Brandy (Jennia Fredrique), Noah’s rep, return to the house. Brandy begins her bonding with Alex. (Love them.) I start wondering what “What’s the T?” means. Baby Gat makes another move on Noah. Noah pushes him into the water. Baby Gat decides to get warm by stripping down and running naked to the hot tub. (Butt shot No. 2!) Baby Gat pulls Noah into the hot tub, too, which a drunken Wade sees and storms off. Noah asks Ricky to follow Wade. Wade knows Ricky loves Noah. Ricky knows Noah loves Wade. Ricky says he’s always wondered what all the fuss is about Wade, why Noah has to have him. Wade says he’s always wondered what all the fuss is about Ricky, why even straight men, like the house’s gardener/caretaker, won’t turn him down. (A woman behind me: “Tell me he’s not gonna do what I think he’s gonna do!”) Ricky leans in and they kiss. (The woman: “Tell me he didn’t do that!”) Noah sees them and runs back to the house.
• Eddie tells Chance he wants a divorce. Chance says he’s too drunk to talk about it. (MBM: “Drunken minds speak the truth, honey!”) Chance goes downstairs and kisses Brandon. (MBM: “Get it! Get it!”)
• Noah wakes up the next morning. Robb passes along a message from our friend Sheila, sitting on the other side of him: “He can’t even pretend to be asleep, he’s such a terrible actor.”
• Alex finally admits that the How to Save Your Gay Marriage book he told Noah he brought for him is actually what he’s been reading. He and Trey (Gregory Kieth), who’s been at home watching their new baby, are having problems: MBM starts singing “Love Will Save the Day.” (And in the end, it does.)
• The rest of the house starts waking up. One of Brandy’s false eyelashes hangs halfway off her right eye for multiple scenes, which delights MBM. Chance tells Brandon, “This can’t happen again.” (MBM: “Until Christmas!”) Chance sneaks back into his bedroom with Eddie. (MBM: “Hi, baby. I’m home. Your country breakfast is ready.”)
• Ricky finds an upset Noah. (MBM: “Say it!”) He tells him that he loves him. (Crowd: Gasps.) Ricky says he knows Noah doesn’t love him “that way” and that he does love Wade. Ricky wants Noah to know that he will always have his back. (MBM to a friend: “I’ll always have your back, girl.” MBM’s friend: “And I’ll have yours.”) Crowd applauds. I wonder if that 30-second resolution of apparently years of pining is realistic. If so, I want to be a gay man.
• Noah sports another piece of outerwear: Robb asks, “How many coats did he bring?”
• Before he helps Wade with his hair, Noah checks in on Brandon, who’s feeling alone in the world. “What am I gonna do?” he asks. MBM answers: “Live your life, bitch.” Noah tells him he’s part of their family now.
• Chance and Eddie make up. Noah debuts his lavender wedding jacket. Both Noah’s and Wade’s mothers show up for the service, which ends with the boys being pronounced husband and husband and MBM saying, “Kiss that man, bitch.”
• Crowd: Applause!
If you saw the movie, was it all you hoped for? (I was as happy leaving it as I was the Sex and the City movie.) And more importantly, was your crowd as good as mine?