The Velocity Of Gary* (*not His Real Name)

on July 16, 1999 by Annlee Ellingson
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   The best reason to see "The Velocity of Gary* (*Not His Real Name)" is Ethan Hawke--who's on the screen for all of a couple of minutes.
   The film opens with a sexy, shirtless Gary (Thomas Jane) roaming New York City and happening upon a deaf tourist dressed in drag, just in time to save him from a handful of embarrassed thugs who thought they were hitting on a girl. You're led to believe that the film's about the budding romance between these two, but that theory's shot when the annoying, Patsy Cline lip-synching transvestite gets smacked and killed by a cab.
   Or maybe it's about the eclectic characters who hook up in an all-night donut diner: the crabby waitress who helps herself to her customers' rolls, the drag queens who harass the suits who attempt to come inside, the fading porn queen who's trying to get her career back on track. Alas, no.
   Eventually Gary figures out what it's really about: a love triangle.
   Despite the title, Valentino (Vincent D'Onofrio) is really the center of this piece, the porn star whom both Mary Carmen (Salma Hayek) and Gary have fallen in love with. These two hate each other from the moment they meet and are constantly competing for Valentino's affections. But when Valentino falls ill (AIDS--though the disease is never named), the three of them move in together, barely making the rent for their dumpy one-roomer. These moments are the worst, with Mary Carmen trying to make Valentino feel better with loud music and junk food and Gary screaming that he needs to rest. They can't even get along in the hospital; Mary Carmen bursts into an abrasive string of Spanish whenever she gets frustrated with Valentino's worsening condition or an unsympathetic nurse. Finally, Mary Carmen admits, "I wish he'd just hurry up and die." We do, too.    Starring Salma Hayek, Vincent D'Onofrio and Thomas Jane. Directed by Dan Ireland. Written by James Still. Produced by Dan Lupovitz. A Next Millennium release. Drama. Rated R for strong sexual content, language, some drug use and violent images. Running time: 100 min.
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