See It: Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss blows into the Lagoon Theatre

In an age that demands instant gratification, the camera of choice is, naturally, a Polaroid. One click, one whirr, and the world comes into focus. No f-stops, filters, or computers. And best of all, no waiting.

It's the anguish of anticipation, however, that makes the romantic comedy Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss both irresistible and somehow familiar. When charmingly geeky gay shutterbug Billy Collier (played by Sean P. Hayes, below right) recruits All-American boy Gabriel (Brad Rowe, left) to pose for a series of photographs modeled on great Hollywood screen kisses, there's an undercurrent of chemistry from the get-go. But it's Gabriel's evasive answers to questions about his unseen girlfriend and sexuality that leave Billy panting for revelation as he snaps away on his trusty Polaroid. "Is he or isn't he?" Billy wonders, watching intently for signs that his supposedly straight friend might be reaching out to him.

The gaping awkwardness of unrequited affection is perfectly portrayed here as Billy and Gabriel stumble through incomplete conversations. Billy's straight gal pal, George (Meredith Scott Lynn), and his longtime admirer, Perry (Richard Garoung), provide a healthy dose of skepticism to counter Billy's infatuation, but the claims of reason ultimately give way in the realm of romantic obsession. Until the credits roll, the viewer, like Billy, hopes against all odds that the Cupid's arrow will meet its mark and that our hero too will get his on-screen kiss. (Opens at Minneapolis' Uptown Theatre on Aug. 7.)

 
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