By Valerie Milano
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/30/23 – Opening at the Laemmle NoHo Theatre on Friday, March 30 is Todd Flaherty’s Chrissy Judy (2022), a most entertaining film about two gay men who have been best friends for a long time. The film screened at OutfestLA 2022, where it was a real crowd-pleaser. For thirty-something Chrissy, his best friend is Judy, an endearing but perpetually emotionally messy man who always seems to have had a few too many drinks. As friends, they are inseparable, but seemingly co-dependent. They have survived for years with a two-queen drag act in the bars of New York City. When Chrissy decides to leave town for his successful boyfriend, Judy’s left to pick up the pieces and forge a solo path in life and love with no one to lean on but himself. Chrissy Judy has been warmly received a number of film festivals including Provincetown FF, Cleveland FF, New Fest, OutSHINE Miami, and Hamptons IFF.
Directing the film and starring in it, Todd Flaherty has lets us see what determines our friendships and, in particular, our queer chosen families. Chrissy (Wyatt Fenner) and Judy (Todd Flaherty) are best friends and have been performing drag together for a while, mostly to rather disinterested audiences in New York City and Fire Island. They’ve both recently turned thirty years old, and this milestone has triggered Chrissy into reevaluating his life and priorities. He decides to quit performing drag and to move in with his boyfriend Shawn (Kiyon Spencer) who lives in Philadelphia and transfer his day job there too.
Chrissy moves to Philly and Judy tries performing drag on his own, but it doesn’t really work, and he’s dropped from his only regular gig. We follow Judy as he bounces from party to disco and man to man as he tries to fill the gap left by Chrissy. One night at the house party of an old friend Samoa (James Tyson), he gets the following good advice; “We are all on this planet to become the people we are meant to be. But if you don’t envision who that person is, then you won’t become them.” This seems to be a bit of a wake-up call. So, Judy gets a job in a hotel in Provincetown for the summer, and slowly begins to discover himself.
Todd Flaherty has written, directed, and stars in this film, which is beautifully shot in black and white. Strong art direction, cinematography, and good casting with some handsome men complement the rather witty script. The overall message here is that our chosen families, although very important, alone usually won’t give us the full life we want. We need to search out and create relationships, careers, housing opportunities, and all the other elements that make up a nourishing life ourselves.
Todd Flaherty is an actor and writer, known for writing and acting in the TV series Undetectable (2016), a story about how a recent HIV diagnosis forces a gay man named Matthew to redefine his life as he navigates what it means to be a positive gay man. He was also in a short Pretty Girls (2013) and more recently in Let’s Meet Again at the End of the World (2021). Wyatt Fenner is an actor in the TV Series Gotham (2014), The Evil Tenant and Pornography: A Thriller (2009).