Interior. Leather Bar. (NR)

Drama 60 January 2, 2014
By Calum Marsh
James Franco, our most insufferable self-styled renaissance man, is regularly dismissed as merely over-rich and restless -- a fidgety hobbyist of ample means and free time. But it hardly seems fair to blame him for seeking distraction, occasionally mustering a starring role in a Disney vehicle or a slim volume of modernist short stories. We all putter around the house sometimes, albeit to less glamorous ends. A more egregious offense is the apparently indiscriminate sweep of his proclivities. Franco, in other words, has terrible taste in pastimes — and regrettably we are privy to all of them. His latest fleeting avocation is Interior. Leather Bar., an hour-long experiment in speculative queer fiction. It's a particularly risible nothing whose premise alone betrays the paucity of Franco's imagination and wit: Thirty years ago, censors excised nearly 40 minutes of William Friedkin's gay-club thriller Cruising to secure an R rating, and with Interior Franco seeks to reimagine this lost footage and restage it as a kind of spiritual restoration. You may be wondering why Cruising in particular warrants this treatment. Well, no reason: Like the Oscars and Oz, any given project need only give this star something to do. Franco, smugly po-faced throughout, regards his efforts here as nothing short of noble, as if his ineffectual gestures toward the "crisis" of heteronormativity promised anything but self-satisfaction. Rarely has liberal guilt animated self-righteous invective so vigorously.
James Franco, Travis Mathews Val Lauren, James Franco, Christian Patrick, Travis Mathews, Brenden Gregory, Brad Roberge, Collin Chavez, A.J. Goodrich, Robby Acklen, Osbaldo Daniel Alvarez Travis Mathews Strand Releasing