Tennyson Bardwell's directorial debut has a setup as obvious as its title, a punny reference to gay icon Oscar Wilde. Dorian (McMillian) is a closeted high-school senior saddled with a domineering father (Fletcher), an athletic brother named Nicky (Coco) and an out-to-lunch mother (Quigley). One night during dinner, Dorian dares to challenge his dad's conservative views, and their verbal sparring sparks an epiphany: Dorian's as queer as Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares. While the boy's struggle to come to terms with his sexual orientation is familiar, it is invigorated by quirky details—his first kiss with a Monkees-loving bernerd; his attempt to sleep with a female stripper who channels Billie Holiday; and his refreshingly close bond with Nicky, who legitimately loves him yet tries to turn him straight.
The first half of the film, set in a nameless suburb, is filled with funny, Welcome to the Dollhouse--style moments as Dorian suffers through adolescent homophobia, therapy and Catholic dogma. But once he moves to New York to attend college, the movie loses its way and devolves into an episodic, paint-by-numbers narrative. As Dorian has it out with his respective family members, he realizes that his brother isn't perfect, his father is plagued by fear and his mother is more with-it than she seems. He also learns that he's flawed, which unfortunately is also true of this movie. (Opens Fri; Quad.)