Film Review: Down Low (2023)

Its material may get dark but at its core, Down Low is a light-hearted and enjoyable queer farce

“How many guys have you done this with?”

Written by Lukas Gage and Phoebe Fisher and directed by Rightor Doyle, Down Low revels in its queerness as it aims squarely and unapologetically for the adult comedy market, with an obvious bent towards the LGBTQ+ crowd. That much is obvious from the opening scene where Zachary Quinto’s newly divorced father of two Gary hires Gage’s Cameron for a massage which ends in a handjob as the title card flashes up.

Gary has just come out and whilst his wife and kids weren’t necessarily too pleased, the younger and queerer Cameron is delighted at this project-in-the-making, quickly logging onto dating app Plungr (Grindr by any other name, obvs) to get Gary out there and also organise his first threesome. Predictably though, especially when thinking is coloured by such horniness, things really don’t go to plan.

Down Low may not be the most sophisticated of comedies but then again, it really isn’t trying to be. As we dip into the dark web, necrophilia and crack-inspired musical interludes, there’s also Ambien-loaded neighbours (Judith Light!) and pop culture references aplenty keeping things relatably amusing. There’s also a weirdly macabre detail about Gary which I’ll leave unspoiled here but which explains a lot about his mindset.

Does the film work when it has something slightly more serious to say? Kinda, ish. The generational differences towards the coming out process are entertainingly explored and there’s something gently moving in Quinto’s exploration of Gary’s life lived with repressed sexuality and the value it still possesses. His ex (Audra McDonald!) makes a late appearance for a finale which is a tonal shift, dropping the silliness for sagacity and an iconic final image. Good escapist fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *