‘Fire Island’ review: Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang update Jane Austen

It’s hard to say definitively now, but the project may end up being best known as a vehicle for Bowen Yang, who seemed poised for bigger things since joining “Saturday Night Live,” and comedian Joel Kim. Booster, who is actually the star of the film as well as its author. They are joined by a cast that includes Margaret Cho and Conrad Ricamora (“How to Get Away With Murder”), in the latest attempt (see “Clueless” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary”) to dress Austen in a more contemporary style. package.

The grafting process here is pleasant enough but doesn’t entirely work, with Booster’s Noah and Yang’s Howie among a group of friends descending on Fire Island for an annual weekend getaway, describing the bare flesh and the emphasis on abs like “gay Disney World.” . Within the group, the dynamic is skewed by Noah’s matchmaking efforts on behalf of the more buttoned-up Howie, while insisting he’s not looking for a relationship but stumbles across a relationship nonetheless. .

Wild parties and unattached connections don’t immediately evoke Austen’s tightly-waisted corsets, but Noah’s question not recognizing his own needs as he channels his energy into the reluctant Howie follows the basic outline.

‘Fire Island’ – arriving amid a flurry of Pride Month-related programming – doesn’t quite have enough substance to sustain itself, which might have explained the appeal of Quibi’s abbreviated approach to this particular property.

Directed by Andrew Ahn, the film’s contemporary wrinkles – how this diverse group of friends stay together and Noah’s sense of being looked down upon due to class and racial divisions within the gay community – work slightly better. There are also some fun throwaway lines scattered along the way, including an overt reference to Austen lest anyone missed the parallels.

“Fire Island” is primarily intended to be fun, not necessarily deep, so it should be consumed in those terms. Austen’s adaptations clearly never go out of style, but this latest variation reminds us that that doesn’t mean they pack enough props to fully validate the trip.

“Fire Island” premieres June 3 on Hulu. It is rated R.

Leave a Comment