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Cold Showers gets you hot, then leaves you cold

Cold Showers gets you hot, then leaves you cold


This French indie gets the boys naked but hides their hearts.

When it comes to fashion, cuisine, and art, few do it better than the French. To that list we can now add another more specific achievement: uninhibited male nudity in a shower or locker-room setting. That attractive bit of spice--which has already powered the release of the gay-themed film Grand Ecole (2004) and the popular Dieux de Stade beefcake calendars--helps to garnish the Picture This! release Cold Showers, which recently premiered on DVD.

In this debut feature from director Antony Cordier, Johan Libereau plays Mickael, a high school student struggling with his family (Dad's an unemployed alcoholic, and Mom's a spendthrift who forces cold showers on her son to save on heating bills), his weight (the already lithe Mickael has to drop a perilous 20 pounds to qualify for a lower weight class in judo), and his sexually adventurous girlfriend, who lures him into a menage a trois with handsome classmate Clement (Pierre Perrier). Though the actors are attractive and the performances natural, the opaque Libereau never lets us into Mickael's head, and the result is a stylish mood piece that never amounts to much more. Though the men frequently bare all, Cold Showers keeps itself buttoned up.

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Kyle Buchanan