Easily the most unintentionally camp movie of 2017, director Luca Guadagnio’s goofy gay romance drama betrays its oh-so-earnest attempts at being a European art film at every turn. If only this movie had half the ebullient joy of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” then perhaps there would be something for its audience to savor.
Without regard to its blatant pedophiliac underpinnings, “Call Me By Your Name” sets up a hopelessly phony and lightweight romance between Armie Hammer’s Oliver and Elio (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 16-year-old classical pianist who likes to transgress the demands of the classical cannon.
Never mind that a 32-year-old Hammer plays the 24-year-old Jewish American graduate student spending a summer in 1983 Italy with an archaeology professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) who sure knows how to set a Euro-styled lunch table. Elio’s bookish dad may as well be pimping his son out to Oliver in order to vicariously experience a clandestine homosexual connection he was never brave enough to execute when he was younger. Mr. Perlman’s movie-closing monologue is a thing of guffaw-inducing grandeur. You want creepy dialogue, you've got it.
Even if the whole [overwrought] “call me by your name” thing doesn’t hit your funny bone, the eating-a-peach-filled-with-semen will. You’ll laugh at the wrong moments and you’ll wince at the whole wrongheadedness of this petite disaster. If only the actors and filmmakers had been in on the joke.
Rated R. 132 mins.
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