William Shakespeare once said that there are only 38 plots. So then all stories are derived of this theory. With that in mind, you might think the film “The Skinny,” opening this weekend, just falls into familiar territory, especially when writer/director Patrik-Ian Polk already achieved success with a seemingly similar movie and cable series, “Noah’s Arc.”
I had a chat with Polk while he was en route to San Francisco to bring “The Skinny” to Landmark’s Embarcadero Cinema. He and lead actor Jussie Smollett will be at the 7:30pm and 9:45pm screenings this Saturday night (April 28th).
“It may seem perhaps a bit ‘Noah’s Arc’ or even ‘Sex and the City,’ but I wanted to create a movie that a mass audience can relate to,” says Polk. “So it also doesn’t matter if you’re black or white or anything else, it’s a story that friends can identify with.”
The skinny on “The Skinny” is it tells the story of a group of college friends that arrange to meet up in New York a year after graduation for a weekend of fun which as we all know, even in a comedy, sometimes a few secrets and hidden desires add a little drama to the mix.
There is one scene in the movie that might draw a lot of attention to the film regardless of its familiar and comfortable plot. There’s a scene where a more sexually educated character teaches one of his novice friends how to prepare himself for anal sex. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it in any film and it manages to be educational and funny at the same time. The scene goes deep (almost literally) about how long it takes food to go through our system and different ways to douche in preparing for different sized partners. “Besides trying to make people have a good time at a movie,” Polk says, “I like to have teachable moments.”
Since Polk has been in attendance for the screenings at film festivals and screenings in New York, London, Atlanta and DC, he says that’s the one scene that causes gasps and murmurs from the audience and occasionally people talking back to the screen.
Polk doesn’t really encourage talking back and we discussed how that often seems to happen in movies with a predominantly black audience. Polk thinks people have talked back to the screen at his movies because “people feel comfortable and often come with a group of friends and kind of make the whole experience a party.”
You might find Polk partying about San Francisco, a city that he loves, while he is here this weekend screening the film. “I love the weather here in San Francisco and those hills,” he says. And although from New York, he loves our museums. And if you think you see him at Cafe Flore, you might be right as that’s one of his favorite places to hang out.
UPDATE: “The Skinny” opens Friday, May 11th in L.A. at the Laemmle’s Music Hall 3: 9036 Wilshire Blvd. Get tickets here: http://laemmle.com/viewtheatre.php?date=05112012&thid=4