Shelter bides its time with innocuous snapshots of local SoCal colorcrashing waves, crystal blue skies, natives who pronounce the r in Louvrebefore writer-director Jonah Markowitz allows Zach (Trevor Wright), a full-time burger-flipper and nanny to his nephew, to get his queer on. Following much surfer-dude posturing predicated on cautious pronoun use and double meanings (We picked a good time to come out, Zach says in reference to the days waves), the young cutie shares a drunken kiss with his best buds older brother, Shaun (Brad Rowe), after which he makes a beeline for the beach in a restless attempt to surf the gay away. Rowe, no stranger to playing queerbait, patiently stands by until Wrights Zach gets his yes-no mood swingsinformed as much by real life as by after-school specials and gay-male fantasyout of his system. Their chemistry is solid, but the inane pop-rock music that fills the soundtrack is rougher trade than any of their sex scenesor, for that matter, their characters oft-mentioned class difference, which is never milked for any great epiphany. As far as coming-out dramas go, Shelter is a puppy dog, well-acted but rife with cliché received wisdom and at least one ingeniously arbitrary bit of mid-scene dialogue: Thats why you never tell a woman how to cook a chicken.
March 28-April 3, 2008