Jan 24, 2013

The Last American Virgin: Steve Antin

Steve Antin's bio on the Internet Movie Database claims that he "broke all the girls' hearts" in The Last American Virgin (1982).  Same old story: gay people don't exist, so all girls and no boys swooned over his character.

Steve was the boyfriend of mogul David Geffen during the late 1980s, and starred in several gay-friendly productions, like Inside Monkey Zetterland (1992), about an out-of-work screenwriter with crazy relatives and gay friends; and It's My Party (1996),  about a gay man with AIDS (Eric Roberts), his partner (Gregory Harrison), and his friends.

But did he try to make his early performances accessible to gay viewers?  Did his characters acknowledge that gay people exist?

Steve's first major role was in Last American Virgin (1982), a remake of the 1978 Israeli sex comedy Lemonade Popsicle.  It's about a high school boy, Gary (Lawrence Monoson.left), who remains a virgin while his two friends, Rick (Steve Antin, right) and David (Joe Rubbo), have sex with lots of girls.  They usually have sex in a group, but something always goes wrong before Gary's turn.

When Rick gets Karen (Diane Franklin) pregnant and then dumps her, Gary falls in love with her.  She seems to reciprocate, but then at a party Gary sees her kissing Rick.  He storms out and drives home, crying, still a virgin.

Steve's character has sex with girls and betrays his friend. No buddy-bonding in this rather depressing "comedy" -- it was the homophobic 1980s, after all.

You can make a case for triangulation: the boys always want to have sex in a group, and Gary seems to like Diane only because Rick was intimate with her.

And there's a lot of beefcake.  Far more naked male bodies than naked female bodies.  Muscle hunks in their underwear. Jocks stripped down in the locker room.

There is even a penis size contest in the locker room, with the boys gleefully evaluating packages while their classmates parade by naked.

When was the last time heterosexual male teenagers were so happy to gaze at a row of naked men?

So the conclusion: The Last American Virgin is only marginally accessible to gay male audiences, and not due to Steve Antin's performance.

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