Main cast: Manuel Vignau (Eugenio) and Mateo Chiarino (Martín)
Director: Marco Berger
Hawaii is actually set in a lovely locale in Argentina, but don’t worry, Hawaii does factor in the plot. Director and scriptwriter Marco Berger claims that this is a gay modern-day update to some kind of Jane Austen-like tale of love between two people of different rungs on the social ladder, but don’t be put off by his pretentious soliloquy: this is a charmingly slow-paced movie that gives our two leading men plenty of excuse to go about shirtless, show off their pee-pee bulges in their boxer shorts, and, of course, kiss and cast gloomy glances at one another. It’s the kind of so-called arthouse indie movie that I can definitely get behind, especially when the rear views of these gentlemen are delectable.
Martín, who is poor and has little to his name, shows up hoping to find a place to stay with an aunt, but the aunt has moved, leaving behind no forwarding address. Our handsome but unfortunate fellow sleeps at an abandoned house and hopes to find odd jobs around the place to support himself. He meets his childhood buddy Eugenio, who is a now a wealthy full-time writer who apparently has an aversion to shirts even as he has a fondness for red boxer shorts. Eugenio hires Martin, who at first pretends that he is staying elsewhere. The man soon finds out Martín’s homeless status, however, and invites Martín to move in with him.
The two of them slowly remember the good times they had when they were kids, and soon broody glances soon begin to be exchanged. Walking around only in underpants and waving their bulging crotches at one another’s face can do that to a man. Both men are gay and are attracted to one another, obviously. but Eugenio doesn’t want to make the first move because (a) he doesn’t know that Martín is gay and (b) he doesn’t want Martin to think that he is taking advantage of the man’s homelessness and poverty. Isn’t that sweet of him? Meanwhile, Martín doesn’t dare to make a move because (a) he doesn’t know that Eugenio is gay and (b) he doesn’t want Eugenio to think that he is trying to take advantage of Eugenio’s kindness. So what will happen? Will these two eventually succumb to their desires and start making out?
I’ve just described the plot, which is also pretty much the entire movie. No, really, this is one film that moves like a geriatric snail. In the opening scene alone, we have Martín walking slowly, looking like a homeless Abercrombie and Fitch model, for what seems like an hour. Martín lies on the ground, bulging crotch in his jeans at the camera, as he broods sadly about his homeless state. Slow motion scene of Martín washing his chest and armpits from a tap. And then Eugenio slowly wakes up, takes a long time to shower, then does some weird exercise thing in his boxers with the bulging crotch strategically placed to hog the attention of the viewers… and so forth for what seems like the next two hours.
Okay, things drag here, but the men are so pretty, I can’t say it is a chore to just look at them as they take their time to put shirts on for a few seconds before finding all kinds of excuses to take them off again. All that shirtlessness, some butt exposure, and long, yearnful glances… and we are not even in hot man-man sex territory yet. I especially love how Martín will ask Eugenio whether the man has any spare underwear and then changes into a new pair of briefs in front of that man. Do guys act like this in real life?
The camera lingers on nipples, bare chests, crotch lumps, and of course, the two men’s handsome visages, and I think they do talk now and then, but I am not really listening, sorry. One thing I really like about the scenery is that these two men have bodies that are, while well-toned and look-worthy, feel real rather than overly-muscled or steroidal. There are some tufts of body hair too! Eugenio can act so awkward and shy around Martín, even as he covertly peeks lustily at Martín’s impressive tube, and all this only adds to the whole “So cute and sexy!” vibe of the whole thing.
Mind you, there is no sex here, although a scene of a drunk Eugenio tries to wake Martín up and ends up molesting him a bit here and there is quite hot. Despite the preponderance of camera lingers at beautiful masculine things and homoerotic physical contacts, the whole romance thing is actually pretty sweet. A kiss as good as it gets for direct acknowledgement of the attraction between them, and I have to say: the two kisses still feel like a great pay-off after all that build-up. Or maybe the two guys are so pretty, I’d forgive them of anything.
Anyway, Hawaii. Watch it for the romance, if you must, but really, watch for the pretty. Oh, so much pretty.