King Co­bra

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Movie) King Co­bra (I Am Michael) King Co­bra Teen Beach

Justin Kelly’s has all the charm of gay porn — if you find that charm­ing. It tells the tale of a bizarre and grisly real-life mur­der, re­plete with sex, greed, lust, be­trayal, and stu­pid­ity.

In Jan­uary of 2007, fire­fight­ers re­spond­ing to a blaze in a sub­urb of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, found porn mogul Bryan Ko­cis dead on a couch. But it wasn’t the fire that did him in. His throat had been slit and his body stabbed 28 times. The perps turned out to be a cou­ple of porn­world ri­vals, pur­su­ing the ser­vices of a star Ko­cis had un­der con­tract.

Ko­cis, here called Stephen, is played with a wist­ful sleazi­ness by Chris­tian Slater, who pro­vides the best work in the movie. When young Sean Paul Lock­hart (for­mer Dis­ney star Gar­rett Clay­ton of

ar­rives on Stephen’s doorstep to break into the busi­ness, it’s love at first sight. Sean, who claims to be eigh­teen — the le­gal age for this kind of work — has cho­sen the nom-de-porn of Brent Cor­ri­gan. “How’d you come up with the name?” won­ders an ad­mir­ing Stephen. “I looked through the phone book,” the boy snick­ers.

Brent Cor­ri­gan is a nat­u­ral, and soon he’s a cash cow for Stephen’s Co­bra Films. But there’s trou­ble in par­adise: Brent be­gins to sus­pect he’s not get­ting his share of the cash, and another gay porn out­fit has be­gun to covet the young su­per­star. Viper Boyz con­sists of just pro­ducer Joe ( James Franco) and his sole tal­ent, the dimwit­ted Har­low (Kee­gan Allen), who re­al­ize that pair­ing Har­low with Brent would get the cash regis­ter jin­gling and go a long way to­ward un­der­writ­ing Joe and Har­low’s be­yond-their-means lifestyle.

There’s a fly in the K-Y Jelly, how­ever. Though Sean has bro­ken with his Sven­gali and is ready to pur­sue new op­por­tu­ni­ties in the busi­ness, it turns out that Stephen has locked down the rights to the name Brent Cor­ri­gan — and with­out the mar­quee value of that name recog­ni­tion, Sean is just another pretty, shall we say, face.

Franco, who seems to revel in teas­ing his fans about his sex­u­al­ity, leers and struts and touches bot­tom — lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively — as the jeal­ous, manipulating im­pre­sario of the low-rent Viper Boyz. Clay­ton and Allen are be­liev­able as bod­ies for hire. Molly Ring­wald and Ali­cia Sil­ver­stone turn up as fam­ily mem­bers, pre­sum­ably be­cause they owed some­one a fa­vor.

Kelly de­liv­ers on vi­o­lence, hedges on the sex, and re­vives some decade-old tabloid head­lines, but he never finds a way to in­ject enough whimsy to lift above its tawdry ma­te­rial.

— Jonathan Richards

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