Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel

Leslie Jordan stars in an autobiographical feature, which he adapted from his off-Broadway play, about his search for companionship and sexual identity in mid-70s Atlanta. After fleeing his born-again parents he comes out at the eponymous transient hotel, a playground of sex and drugs, and becomes emotionally entangled with a kooky disowned heiress (Erin Chandler) and a young hustler (Mark Pellegrino). First-time director Julia Jay Pierrepont III draws on the iconography of Breakfast at Tiffany's for the party scenes and Midnight Cowboy for the tearjerker male-bonding scenes, though they aren't as meticulously staged. And aside from a few poignant and reflective moments she lets her actors get away with a bathos and kitschy vulnerability that would embarrass John Waters (especially Jordan, whose fey Candide appropriates Truman Capote's screechy southern drawl). The film's saving grace is its evocation of the hotel's seedy, disco-driven milieu, complete with snappish drag queens and garish, saturated colors (courtesy of cinematographer Sacha Sarchielli). With cameos by John Ritter, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Marilu Henner and Michelle Phillips (as two “mommie dearest” types). 100 min.

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