Below is the third of four brief film review of the movie, <em>Chrissy Judy</em> that appeared at the Provincetown International Film Festival in June, returning in person after a two-year hiatus. While not an LGBT festival, there are always plenty of entries that match this magazine’s mission. It will also be featured at the Outfest Film Festival.
Described by director Todd Flaherty, who stars in the film, as a labor of love, Chrissy Judy begins like the stereotypical show biz movie in which we watch some performers onstage singing or acting their hearts out—in this case a lip-syncing drag act—and then meet them in their dressing room bitching about the small audience and lousy tips. But once Chrissy and Judy take off their makeup and wigs, we realize that these are not your standard aging performers whose act has seen better days but instead two young, good-looking guys who are best friends (but not boyfriends) and who take their drag act seriously. They live together in New York City and occasionally travel out to Fire Island, supporting each other in their erotic escapades.
The fragility of this arrangement becomes apparent when Chrissy starts to get serious about another man. The rest of the film is mostly about Judy’s efforts to come to terms with Chrissy’s departure and to reinvent himself as a solo act. (Oddly, both men use their drag names in their daily lives.) Chrissy moves to Philadelphia to be with his new beau; Judy, already a three-martini kind of gal, visits Philly, gets drunk, and makes a terrible scene. He loses his New York apartment and heads to Provincetown for the summer, where he does a turn in Ryan Landry’s Showgirls revue while working as a houseboy.
In the end, this is a film about friendship—specifically gay friendship, which includes a dimension that’s largely absent from straight buds’ bonds. The latter may banter about women and even go out on the prowl together, but if one of them starts dating someone, the other guy is unlikely to be jealous of the girlfriend or to try to sabotage the relationship (as Judy does). Judy and Chrissy may not be boyfriends, but they could be, after all, and it seems unlikely that they never fooled around at some point (they are gay men, after all). Indeed I suspect many viewers are secretly hoping that the two will get together and end the misery. But if the spark isn’t there, so be it. “The heart has its reasons,” of course, which doesn’t prevent it from taking us in unreasonable directions.