“IT’S IN THE WATER”– have a swig, pardner

“It’s in the Water”

Have a Swig, Pardner

Amos Lassen

“It’s in the Water” is fun, lots of fun. Sure the premise is ridiculous but the film is a delight and makes no pretense at being any more than it is—a feel good movie.

In the small southern town of Azalea Springs, the country club set is the ruling class. Every woman must belong to the League and big hair is still the favorite of the luncheon set and only hairdressers and interior decorators are gay. When the League membership gets an announcement that they must do some work that includes contact with “those” people, the women are stunned and unsettled, to say the least. But when the real shocker comes from a drunken comment that the water is contaminated with something that turns people gay, all hell breaks loose. This is enough to destroy the homophobic town and sure enough, it starts to do so rather quickly. Brother Daniel yells about the water at his “Homo-No-Mo” meetings, the local newspaper picks up the story, rabid homophobic picketers go to work protesting and panic ensues. In the middle of all of this is Alex Stratton, a young woman whose husband keeps his distance, an overbearing mother, and is bored with tedious social chatter and those that criticize her shoes. Not listening to either the wishes of her husband or her mother, she accepts a job at the Hospice where she becomes reacquainted with her best friend from high school, Grace Miller, who has just returned to town after a nasty divorce. The two women feel a magnetism for each other and when they are caught kissing in the Hospice supply room, they both fall out of grace with the society of Azalea Springs. Mark, who works at the newspaper and is a regular at Brother Daniel’s meetings, becomes involves with Tomas, a Latino house painter, who makes the mistake of assuming that an ex-gay meeting is an AA meeting. All the while the rumors about the water persist. The two love affairs become the catalyst for the unraveling of Azalea Springs and it is not just the water that causes it to do so.

The movie makes light of how society and narrow minded people regard us in many instances especially in small southern towns. What happens here could actually happen and the issues are presented in light humor.

The two lead actresses—Keli Jo Chapman as Alex and Teresa Garrett as Grace are always right on and totally believable and their dialogue always rings true. Spencer, the male lead, is one of the guys we all know and he pulled off the stereotype beautifully.

“It’s in the Water” is camp and acted with exaggeration, maybe a little too much sometimes but it makes up for that by its offbeat and affirming ending and the sensitive treatment of the two leads. Largely a caricature to achieve the comedy that it does, there are a lot of good lines and the love scenes are handled with great sensitivity. It is a fun movie and should not be taken seriously. Its sole purpose is to entertain and all we have to do is sit back and enjoy it.

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