There’s an interesting doc to be found somewhere in the recent surge in the cachet of showing an openness to sometimes bat for the home team, or at least make out with the shortstop on a friend’s couch after a few beers. “Bi The Way” is not it. The first film from Brittany Blockman and Josephine Decker, “Bi The Way” would like to be an exploration of our nation’s shifting sexual mores, but it’s so unfocused that it never really manages to argue its thesis, one that some of its own interviewees are hesitant to endorse. Is bisexuality actually on the rise? A slo-mo replay of the Britney-Madonna VMA kiss does not an argument make. Closer looks at a few subjects an 11-year-old from an unconventional family, a male dancer getting into his first relationship with another man, a theater type with mother issues, a teenager girl, a couple exploring bringing in a third are surrounded by interviews with academic and journalistic talking heads, and by footage of the filmmakers on a road trip, talking to people across the country about bisexuality. It’s a very literal approach to capturing the cultural zeitgeist, I suppose, but stooping to footage of how your scouting process involves asking a Utah fast food drive-through attendant where one would find a bisexual Mormon doesn’t come across as a cute joke, it comes across as an insulting flaunting of lazy filmmaking.
But the film does contain one fascinating figure Josh, a kid on the cusp of puberty who’s the son of “Tarnation” director Jonathan Caouette from an early fling with a female friend. Raised by his mother, but in touch and on good terms with his father and his father’s boyfriend, Joshua can seem disturbingly grown up and over-informed, but also extraordinarily free, a child sprung from an experimental petri dish of openness and supportiveness in which his determining of his own sexuality is as close as it can come to being no big deal.
[Photo: “Bi The Way,” Brittany Blockman and Josephine Decker, 2008]