|Directed by||Alessandro De Gaetano|
|Produced by||Steve Gellman
Timothy E. Sabo
|Written by||Alessandro De Gaetano|
|Edited by||Amy Harvey|
Butch Camp is a 1996 comedy film. Filmed and set in Chicago, Illinois, it tells the story of a mild-mannered gay man who, tired of being pushed around by straights, enrolls in "Butch Camp," a program designed to turn wimpy gay men into assertive, confident gay men.
Matt Grabowski (Denniston) is a passive closeted gay man who works as a loan officer in a bank. He awakes one morning to find that his roommate has moved out, stealing all of his furniture. He's assigned a loan application for Mister Pickwick, an important client, and pressured to approve it despite the client not really qualifying. He's forced to take the client out to a stripper bar and after an uncomfortable time there, he's gay bashed on his way home. All of these incidents inspire Matt to sign up for "Butch Camp" to learn how to stand up for himself. Butch Camp is run by Samantha Rottweiler (Tenuta), a Teutonic lesbian who puts campers through a regimen of physical training, self-defense instruction and verbal abuse designed to toughen them up. Rottweiller characterizes straights as "the enemy" and under the theory "know thy enemy" requires campers to learn straight lingo (mostly slang terms for vaginas and sports terminology).
Rottweiler sends campers out on "assignments" in the straight world, like making them hang out in straight bars. On one such assignment, Matt meets hairdresser Janet Cockswell (Roberts) and her boyfriend Rod (Teresi). He becomes friends with Janet; Rod is initially somewhat resentful of him but eventually warms up as the three hang out more. Matt finds himself developing a crush on Rod.
Janet, not realizing Matt is gay, sets her sights on him. Janet gets him to her salon under the false pretense of a fight with Rod and seduces him. Rod finds out about it and he and Janet argue, with dialog implying that Rod might be gay himself.
A day or two later, Rod runs into Matt and confronts him. As they start to talk it out (with Rod implying that he knows Matt is gay) they're suddenly confronted by an armed robber who inexplicably forces them to strip before running off. Shaken, the guys go to Matt's place and have some drinks. They talk and Rod, noticing that Matt is bruised and sore, offers him a back rub. The massage becomes more sensual until Rod becomes ill. Suddenly Janet shows up. Rod hides while Janet tries to seduce Matt again, but Matt comes out to her instead and she leaves, but only after Matt agrees to remain friends with her. Rod, blaming the alcohol, also leaves.
At work, Matt refuses to approve the questionable loan and the bank manager fires him. Depressed, he avoids Rod and Janet for weeks. Meanwhile, Rod breaks up with Janet and comes out to one of his friends, who drops him. Rod sneaks into Matt's apartment. Rod wants to be with Matt but Matt is worried about having his heart broken again. Rod leaves with the situation unresolved.
Matt's preparing for his Butch Camp "final exam" (three hours in a bar where gay bashers hang out) while trying to get a hold of Rod and to decide whether to help his old bank with a sting operation against Mister Pickwick. On his way to the exam he stumbles across his old manager, cross-dressed, being beaten by the same basher who attacked Matt. Using what he learned at Butch Camp, Matt defeats the basher. Rod, hearing of Matt's actions, tracks him down. They reconcile over a romantic dinner and dance together at the restaurant. They go back to Matt's place and make love.
Matt helps his old bank execute the sting and his boss, grateful for his help and for his rescue (and discretion), hires him back with a promotion. Back at work, Matt spots a Butch Camp flyer on a co-worker's desk and smiles encouragingly. At Butch Camp, Matt graduates and is awarded the "Medal of Honor" for removing the basher from the streets. The film closes with the Butch Camp graduates marching in Chicago's annual gay pride parade.
Butch Camp was released on Region 1 DVD on October 30, 2001 and re-released May 14, 2002.