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by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday May 8, 2012

You know the feeling you get when you've met someone and the sparks fly? Young Gabríel (Atli Oskar Fjalarsson), an Icelandic teenager, doesn't -- not until he meets bad boy Markús (Haraldur Ari Stefánsson) on a school trip. Then he gets what he describes as "Jitters", and he stays that way -- jittery -- for weeks after his return home.

It's a good title for this movie, which is all about teen angst and parents who are nosy, intrusive, and general pains. There's plenty going on, as Gabríel's friends all have their own problems with sex and relationships to sort out.

Teddi (Elías Helgi Kofoed-Hansen) is a teen man-slut, whose inability to keep his hands off other girls infuriates his girlfriend, Tara (Kristín Pétursdóttir). Stella, Gabríel's best gal pal, is crushing on him big time, and frustrated that he just doesn't seem to "get it." Eventually, she turns her attention to a Russian immigrant, Mitrovic (Vilhelm Þór Neto), who works with her at a convenience store... a romantic liaison that drives Stella's smothering grandmother to panicked distraction.

Parental stifling is also an issue for Gabríel, whose control freak mother organizes "family meetings" around her fears (entirely imagined) that her son is on drugs. (It should be obvious that he's in love and totally bewildered by it, which is to say, he's an adolescent, but this never seems to occur to her.)

By contrast, Gréta's (Birna Rún Eiríksdóttir) mother is anything buy overly attentive. She's a party girl whose wild ways rub the sensible Gréta the wrong way. Gréta decides to look for her father, but she has to navigate her mother's reluctance as well as her friend Júdit's (María Birta) infatuation with her father once she finds him.

It's all so busy that you could forget all about the central love story, which is, one supposes, between Gabríel and Markús. The boys aren't sure what to do about being gay (for that matter, they don't seem to be entirely convinced that they are gay), so they do what teens in such films always do: Have sex with someone else (or try to), fight about it, text, sulk, and finally have a public meltdown at a party attended by all their friends.

This feels like a gay version of all the After School Specials you made a point of not watching, with a little bit of "St. Elmo's Fire" and a dash of "Absolutely Fabulous" thrown in for good measure. What's worse, the movie feels interminable: Quite a trick for a story packed with so many characters and their respective dramas. By the end, you feel like you've sat through at least one, and maybe two, seasons of some nameless TV series about horny high schoolers, and it's hard to know if a cold shower or a No-Doz is more in order.

Screening At The Boston LGBT Film Festival

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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