Timothy (Tanner Cohen), the lone gay boy in at an all-boy prep school (filled, evidently, with a sea of hetero, testosterone-driven, male eye candy) regularly escapes the mundane reality of his homophobic high school with fantastical gay daydreams of scantily clad, dancing rugby players and unrequited loves made real in his imagination. When cast as the mischievous Puck in the annual production of the school's all-male production of Shakespeare by his eccentric drama teacher (Wendy Robie), Timothy discovers a hidden recipe for the play's magic love-inducing pansy.
Armed with cupid's love juice, Timothy sets out to balance the scales of his close-minded town, but as we saw in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, "the course of true love never did run smooth," and unfortunately neither did this film.
Tom Gustafon attempts to draw upon Shakespeare's story of transformation and love, and recreate it into a modern day gay fantasia. Now, I was really excited about this film. A movie musical featuring a coming-of-age gay story centered around Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's dream? That's my high school experience compounded into a feature length film! Sign me up! I should have loved this film... I love musicals, I love Shakespeare, and I love gays. But I came away with a disappointing feeling of unfulfilled potential.
Timothy spends his time enduring the homophobic chiding of his classmates and longing after and daydreaming about Jonathan, the captain of the rugby team and paragon of heterosexual masculinity. After school, Timothy escapes to the safety of his non-judgmental and nonconformist friends: Frankie, a free-spirited singer songwriter and her twinkie boyfriend, Max. Timothy's eccentric drama teacher convinces Timothy to play Puck in the Morgan Hill annual Shakespeare production. While memorizing lines Timothy falls into a trance which unlocks a secret recipe for the magical pansy from the play. Timothy inadvertently squirts Max with the magical ichor causing Max to strip down and throw himself onto his unsuspecting friend.
Realizing that he holds the key to all of his dreams Timothy rushes to rehearsal where Ms. Tebith has conveniently casted the majority of the rugby team. Timothy puts Jonathan under his love spell, and after vocal pronunciations of disgust from classmates Timothy runs around squirting his classmates and turned the macho rugby team into a lustful gay orgy. He continues to wreak havok on the town making the homophobic rugby coach fall in love with the school principle, Jonathan's girlfriend fall for his vocally non-lesbian friend Frankie, and a host of same-sex attraction. With the whole town thrown into a homo-disarray, and Timothy gone M.I.A. indulging in his rugby jock wetdream, Ms. Tebith attempts to "make amends" by gathering the town at the evening's theatre performance. Will Timothy give up his power over love and his dream of love with Jonathan to restore order and free will?
I thought Were The World Mind suffered from a case of identity crisis. It tried to straddle gay teen flic and fantastical musical extravaganza, and achieves neither. The musical interludes are confined to Timothy's imagination, but these scenes are where the film sings (literally) and beg to be set free. The real world rather is filled with lame gay caricatures, mediocre acting, and an unfortunate case of undeveloped characters, most notably Timothy's misfit friends, Max and Frankie.
The jumps between dream sequences and the harsh homophobic reality are awkward and confusing. One can see why Timothy would want to spend as much time in his dreamworld of scantily clad fairies, seeing how the real world is filled with caricature relationships that often feel more like a public service announcement than realistic human interactions. Timothy's mother, Donna, who struggles to send him to the elite and evidently virulently homophobic prep school Morgan Hill, gets a job working for the headmaster's wife, Nora, and her door-to-door cosmetics business. The ever eccentric Nora reacts with disgust and abhorrence when Donna admits that her son, Timothy is gay. This happens again when Donna tries to sell cosmetics to a prospective client, who promptly begins spouting Leviticus.
Timothy's eccentric, Shakespeare reciting, dreamy-eyed drama teacher is another odd case of poorly constructed character. Wendy Robie performs well with the role she is given, which unfortunately suffers again from an identity crisis. It is clear that Ms. Tebbit is magical in some capacity, she gives Timothy the script from which he discovers Puck's recipe for the magical pansy, and she also at another point appeases an angry mob of disgruntled parents with seeming powers of magical persuasion. While she represents a clear Titania analogue, her character is so poorly developed that what might have been a rich focal point for the film's mythology falls flat.
All in all, I thought that Were The World Mine was a great concept, but poorly executed. The music and lyrics were probably the most enjoyable part of the film, although the choreography was largely forgettable. If you're content to sit back and enjoy the music and plenty of exposed skin, turn off your brain and critical eye and enjoy.