Hit and Runway

Directed by Christopher Livingston

Rated R 108 mins (1999)

Elliot and Alex are the most unlikely of pairs, a Woody Allen-esque gay Jewish playwright with low self-esteem and a straight talent-free Tarantino-wannabe. Alex, who's day job is working at his Italian family's New York eatery, turns to Elliot in desperation after a major studio expresses interest in his screenplay Hit and Runway. It's a big-budget action pic set in the world of high fashion, with supermodels smuggling drugs in their breast implants, but for which he hasn't yet written a single word. Meanwhile, Elliot's got what seems like a hopeless crush on Joey, an actor who waits tables at Alex's café (Kerr Smith, who also plays television's most famous gay teen on Dawson's Creek). Imagine Elliot's surprise when, on their first "date," Joey proclaims himself a "Gentile admirer of Jewish men." Elliot works this fetish to his advantage, and a hilariously warped cross-cultural romance blossoms. Just uttering the words "challah" and "Chanukah" are enough to drive Joey wild with desire. Through Elliot, Alex learns to unleash his feminine side, and the script becomes something much different (and better) than the movie the studio is expecting. Through Alex, Elliot gets tips on cruising-with-confidence and avoiding career self-sabotage. This sly romantic comedy tackles some serious-seeming issues, like ethnic stereotyping, Hollywood homophobia, and creativity-versus-commercialism, but always in its own assuredly whimsicalway.

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Tuesday, June 26 8:00