Friday, June 10th, 2022

Queerguru reviews FIRE ISLAND : the hottest gay romcom of the summer



Right after seeing the preview trailer of Fire Island and before we talked with director Andrew Ahn we knew this was a no-brainer.  This delightful and intoxicating film written by (and starring) Joel Kim Booster is without question THE queer rom-com of the summer.

Borrowing heavily from (the unwed) Jane Austen and her Pride and Prejudice, this tale of looking for Mr. Right in one week on the queer paradise that is Fire lsland hits all the right buttons for all romantic gay men. And others I should add.  Based on Booster’s own annual trips to the Island it avoids the pitfalls of the usual cliches of other queer comedies.  Instead, we end up with this ensemble piece that is not afraid to make a few punches that often shatter the idyllic peace, thus keeping it all too real at times.

This is the story of a close-knit band of friends who meet up every summer for one week to share the house of their best lesbian girlfriend (played to the hilt by Margaret Cho).  The group is unofficially led by the very hunky Noah (Booster) who usually intends to have a string of ‘love em and leave em’ one night hook ups, but this year he wants to focus on breaking the dry spell that Howie his bestie (Bowen Yang) has had for some years.  Howie doesn’t want a Mr. Right Now but instead, a real boyfriend (!), and  Noah somewhat rashly not only promises to help in the quest but also vows not to sleep with another man until Howie  is successful.

Actually, it may not be as tough as they both think as at the first bar they visit Howie starts getting cruised by another hopeless romantic Charlie (James Scully) who is a Doctor no less.  

Now, if you didn’t know, this part of Fire Island is hotel and roadless, so is made up of large houses which are all inhabited by a group of friends sharing. There is not only an unspoken hierarchy based mainly on wealth, but when Howie and his Asian housemates turn up at Charlie’s WASP-filled house, racism rears its ugly head.

Charlie’s bestie  Will (Conrad Ricamora) makes  no effort to hide his distaste for Howie or for any of his friends who he accuses of being users who are totally out of their league. It’s a shocking reminder of how the strife for queer equality so often doesn’t deal with ones like this within our own community.  BUT it’s not all heavy going as Booster gives us some hilarious scenes such as when he and his posse swap their leftover drugs resulting in some calamitous results.  Plus there are some very explicit sex scenes that are naturally ‘essential to the plot’ but would totally horrify poor Miss Austen. 

Credit to director Ahn, who in his previous movies, Spa Night and Driveways, show he has a very deft hand with queer dramas and knows exactly how to extract the sheer joy of Booster’s compelling and thoroughly enjoyable script.  The other cast, which I have barely mentioned, are all terrific across the board and you can sense the authenticity of their on-screen relationship.  Both Booster and Yann are complete scene stealers, but it is the latter in particular that shines in his role as the hopeless romantic.

You’ll have to watch the film to see if he succeeds in the end …. but we can reassure you that their journey to that point is so worth it …… but maybe take a kleenex just in case.

PS Love Island is streaming on HULU but will also be screening at Provincetown Film Festival



Review : Roger Walker-Dack

Editor in Chief : Queerguru 

Member of G.A.L.E.C.A. (Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association) and NLGJA The Association of 
LGBT Journalists. and The Online Film Critics Society. Ex Contributung Editor 
The Gay Uk & Contributor 
Edge Media Former CEO and Menswear Designer of  Roger Dack Ltd in the UK    

one of the hardest-working journalists in the business' Michael Goff of Towleroad


Posted by queerguru  at  15:16


Genres:  coming of age, rom-com

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