‘Top Guys’ doesn’t top ‘Top Gun’ 

click to enlarge Top Guys
  • Courtesy photo
  • Hewston Young plays Maverick — the Tom Cruise role — in “Top Guys,” a theatrical sendup of “Top Gun.”
Remember “Top Gun,” the 1986 movie that helped cement Tom Cruise’s reputation as America’s top young hunk with a heart? The film that mixed heterosexual romance with enough homoerotic innuendo to make everyone wonder what was really going on in the minds of director Tony Scott and writers Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.? The highest-grossing film of the year with the award-winning song “Take My Breath Away” and the macho line, “I feel the need ... the need for speed!” one of the most quoted quips in movie history?

Now comes Ham Pants Productions’ “Top Guys,” a theatrical production staged as part of the 10th annual Another Hole in the Head Horror Film Festival. The comic sendup purports to take “Top Gun’s” male-on-male camaraderie and locker room intimacy to their inevitable conclusion.

Instead, it subjects audiences to 90 minutes of amateurish play-acting that melds director Andy Wenger’s initially hilarious (but ultimately sputtering) landlocked flight sequences with a script by Wenger and Damien Chacona that reads as though it was intended for a freshman dorm no-talent show.

One of the biggest disappointments is its abysmal lack of sexiness. In the supposedly sweaty locker room sequence everyone waits for, the boys wear underpants beneath their towels.

Cmdr. Viper (Wenger, played by Tom Skerritt in the movie) tries to seduce every fighter pilot in his sights, but his big move on the Cruise character, Maverick (Hewston Young), shows his bathrobe parting to reveal hardly interesting underwear.

As for Maverick’s hot hetero affair with “Top Gun” instructor Charlie (Monica Hernandez, played by Kelly McGillis in the movie), Hernandez struts her fabulous figure and great legs around a lot, but has zero sexual interaction with Maverick. Those who haven’t seen the film will have difficulty figuring out why she’s there in the first place.

There are multiple other distractions. As Ice Man, Maverick’s rival, Dylan Thiffault has a bit of Val Kilmer’s appeal, but does nothing with it.

Stabbing at both Cougar, Maverick’s wingman, and, in the introduction, Kenny Loggins, Tim Kay plays the air guitar for no other reason than his real-life history of competing on the official U.S. Air Guitar Circuit.

And when someone spouts the line, “I can’t blow this man ... I can’t go back to giving hand jobs at the truck stop,” there’s nothing to give the line credibility.

Co-choreographers Jenny Veilleux and Olive Costello join Sara Boll for some energetic dance sequences, but only one of them can really dance. And so it goes.


Top Guys

Where: Stage Werx Theatre, 446 Valencia St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; closes Dec. 14

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 820-3907, www.sfindie.com

About The Author

Jason Victor Serinus

Jason Victor Serinus

Jason Victor Serinus is a music and high performance audio critic, whistler, and lecturer on opera and vocal recordings. He is editor of Psychoimmunity and the Healing Process: A Holistic Approach to Immunity & AIDS. In addition to writing for the San Francisco Examiner, he has written about music for Opera News,... more
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