Coupling disgracefully written dialogue with flailing bodily movements that substitute for acting, Circuit is the awkwardly paced soap opera-ish story of John (Jonathan Wade Drahos), the new kid in Hollywood, learning about having fun as a gay man. He was a cop in his home state of Illinois until his boss mentions that nobody wants to work with him due to his lifestyle, has he thought about living elsewhere? Having grown up there, you'd think he'd be smart enough to move to a more comfortable environment anyway without a condescending conversation to provoke him.
So John is introduced to the seductively free environment of hookups and instant gratification through his cousin Tad (Daniel Kukan), a filmmaker who is documenting "the scene." Along the way he befriends the gruff hustler Hector (Andre Khabazzi) who is obsessed with his facial implants as he inches towards 30, and won't have sex without pay. Watching Hector being groped at a dance club one evening, John suddenly decides to experience the rush of narcotics everyone is raving about.
Granted, it's necessary for plot purposes that John succumb to peer pressure and work through his cleansing downward spiral, but his decisions are so sudden after being "the well-adjusted guy" that it makes the rest of his journey impossible to swallow. One minute he tries a drug, and the next those who have known him for a while are talking about what a waste he's becoming.
Then there are the haphazard side plots that are thrown in, probably an attempt to display different commentary on the party lifestyle. The main problem of these lengthy, extraneous scenes is that there is no established motivation on the part of any of the characters involved to keep you interested as to where they might go next. The prime example is the absolute lack of a logical reason for Tad to break his seven-year, live-in relationship with the kind, thoughtful Gill (Brian Lane Green) for an affair with a DJ that never speaks. He's a sniveling brat as he begs to allow him and his new boyfriend to stay in the same house, claiming artistic need.
The divergent paths don't even bother to comment on John's slowly deteriorating behavior, or their possible negative consequences, until the very end. By the time Circuit explores the necessity of respecting oneself, you're too bored to appreciate its moral obligations.
The singular ray of interesting light that shines through is a brief cameo by Jim J. Bullock, dressed in drag, expressing quiet gratitude for John's previous show of sympathy. If only half the other scenes were written with this simplicity.
While it's unfortunate that filmmakers are shy to photograph men being intimate, Circuit loses its daring appeal through using characters and situations that just aren't entertaining enough to sit through. And though it does acknowledge some individual intelligence in the long run, the wait through each person ignoring common sense is excruciating.
Run time: 130 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 8th May 2002
Distributed by: Swift Distribution
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 20
IMDB: 5.9 / 10
Director: Dirk Shafer
Producer: Steven J. Wolfe, Michael J. Roth