Last night, PJ and I watched Bear City from Netflix. The movie follows Tyler, played by Joe Conti, as he searches for true love among the hairy, meaty, butch men of New York City’s bear scene. Along the way he makes new friends in the community and quickly learns that bears and men in relationships with bears have their own issues to deal with.

Here’s the trailer:

Perhaps I should start by admitting that I’ve never been into the bear scene. I don’t find big, hairy men particularly sexy — but then again I don’t tend to find any group, as a group, particularly sexy (except maybe male models!). Because of my lack of interest, I wasn’t entirely sure that I was going to enjoy this movie.

However, I quickly saw that my own preferences were not going to be a hindrance to thoroughly enjoying this movie. Bear City is a delightful romantic comedy that kept me laughing and entertained. The writing is funny, the actors are engaging, and the plot is a Sex and the City-ish look at this group of friends. I definitely recommend it.

Conti plays would-be actor Tyler, a closet cub, who dreams about sex with Santa Claus. His biggest inhibitor to acting on his fantasies is his best friend, Simon, a flamboyant club kid who assumes normal queer sexuality focuses on fit twinks like himself.

While auditioning for a part, Tyler realizes that he’s more interested in the bearish camera man than he is in acing the audition. To relieve himself when he gets home, he logs onto bear sites to check out hot men but chickens out when one wants to meet him. Knowing this can’t go on, Tyler decides to go out to a bear bar and see what happens.

Almost as soon as he arrives at the bar, Tyler meets up with the cameraman, Fred, from the previous day’s audition. Fred, played by Brian Keane, decides to take Tyler under his wing and introduces him to his partner, Brent, played by Stephen Guarino, and their friends. Before the night is over, Tyler is part of the bear community, has decided to move into Fred and Brent’s spare room, and is on the prowl for bear meat.

Tyler’s prowling quickly centers on the group’s bear stud, Roger, played by Gerald McCullouch. Roger is the kind of guy who organizes orgies at his apartment, is constantly scanning the crowd around him for the hottest guys to hit on, and is the subject of everyone else’s lust. While he’s clearly interested in Tyler, the movie’s central question becomes whether Roger can give up being the Bryan Kinney of the bear set and settle down with one cub.

Like all good romantic comedies, Bear City has several subplots. Fred and Brent, for example, are getting bored with their sex life and are thinking about opening up their relationship. Their adventures in threesomes takes a hilarious turn when they finally agree on a man to bring home.

In another plot line, their overweight friend Michael, struggling with getting a job and embarrassed by reactions to his size by potential employers, decides to have an adjustable gastric band inserted around his stomach to make him eat less. The prospect of this surgery and the resulting weight loss, however, drives his boyfriend, Carlos, away. Partly concerned with Michael’s health, Carlos also reminds him that he didn’t sign up for a skinny partner.

By the end of the movie, all of the plot lines are satisfactorily resolved. Along the way, PJ and I came to love these characters and we both agreed that Bear City should be a series on Logo. It’s a fun movie, and we were sorry when it ended — we were ready to move to New York and join the bear community ourselves! I highly recommend it.

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