Were the World Mine (Unrated) ** ½

By Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald 

Were the World Mine closes the 10th Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on a musical, fantastical note. The movie, which director Tom Gustafson expanded from his short film Fairies, takes the familiar scenarios of high school angst and adolescent crushes and gives them a wonderful musical spin, complete with elaborate sets and choreography.

Cleverly borrowing from A Midsummer’s Night Dream in ways Shakespeare could have never imagined, the movie centers on Timothy (Tanner Cohen), a gay student at a private school who harbors a secret crush on rugby star Jonathon (Nathaniel David Becker).

When the school’s English teacher (Twin Peak‘s Wendy Robie) finds out Timothy can sing beautifully, she casts him as Puck in the school’s upcoming musical production of the Shakespeare play. In a burst of creativity, Timothy uses the character’s recipe to whip up a love potion he intends to use on Jonathon.

But in time-honored tradition, the love potion ends up wreaking merry havoc on the town. Were the World Mine has the theatrical spirit of a Broadway show, with songs that use Shakespeare’s verse as lyrics. The cast fares best in the musical interludes, less so when forced to play characters who are sometimes drawn in an overly broad fashion, like the homophobic coach who wants to shut down the production. But the film’s spirit is lively and the humor at times reminiscent of John Waters in his Hairspray/Cry-Baby era — gentle but cutting.

Cast: Tanner Cohen, Judy McLane, Zelda Williams, Nathaniel David Becker, Jill Larson, Ricky Goldman, Wendy Robie

Director: Tom Gustafson

Screenwriters: Cary James Krueckeberg, Tom Gustafson

Running time: 95 minutes. Vulgar language, sexual situations, adult themes. Plays at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Gusman.


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