Beefcake | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Beefcake 

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This arresting example of camp documentary--a form that's an antidote to mockumentary as well as straight documentary--historicizes male-physique photography of the 50s, combining archival images, fictionalized narrative based on real events and people, and interviews with former photographers and models (including Jack LaLanne and Joe Dallesandro). The main "character" is photographer Bob Mizer (Daniel MacIvor), who with the help of his ambivalent mother ran a business called the Athletic Model Guild until he was prosecuted for vice. Writer-director Thom Fitzgerald (The Hanging Garden) only seems to have taken a loose approach to the material--the tone ranges from thuddingly political to wildly irreverent; ultimately this is a sharp-focus issue movie, decrying intolerance as it explores the effects of labeling, the complexity of fetishizing, and the differences between business and crime. With Josh Peace and Carroll Godsman. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, November 26 through December 2.

--Lisa Alspector

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