In anticipation of the release of Cruising Bar 2, we rented the original last night. I had seen the movie in bits and pieces on late night TV over the years, mostly in a dubbed version on CBC so we decided to watch it in the original french.
The original Cruising Bar stars Micheal Côté in four roles: Jean-Jacques the metrosexual Peacock (above), Gerard the philandering Bull, Patrice the mulleted Lion, and Serge the lonely Earthworm. Each man goes out in search of love and sex (but mostly sex) in their respective favourite drinking establishments. This was one of the most popular comedies ever produced in Quebec.
The pacing is a bit uneven and there is an unfortunate sequence in which the rape of the one the characters is implied (and played for laughs) but it’s a fun film as Micheal Côté was able to give each of his characters a good dose of humanity. You like them enough to want to see how they’ve fared 18 years later.
The fun part, however, is seeing 1989 Montreal with its slightly different skyline, giant cars, and even larger shoulder pads. Even the sight of people smoking in bars seems like a throwback already. And apparently, back in the day, people danced to Sass Jordan.
Jean-Jacques is probably my favourite character, with his fashionably lopsided hairstyle, pristine white condo, and self-portrait above his bed. He spends the most time on his image, rarely saying anything and when he finally speaks, he’s incredibly dull.
I think, given a choice between that other hit of the 80’s, The Decline of the American Empire, and Cruising Bar, I’ll take the latter. Watching middle-aged intellectuals cheerfully talk about how awesome it is to cheat on your wife gets a little stale but I could forever watch Serge’s life and death struggles with public transit.