We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

C. Jay Cox is a great porn name. And Latter Days, C. Jay Cox’s directorial debut, could have been a great porn movie. It has superslutty characters, lotsa nudity, and hot ’n’ sweaty sex scenes that, with gutsier camera angles and gung-ho hung-low actors, could have been X-ceptional. Unfortunately, C. Jay Cox, who also wrote the script, refuses to go all the way, killing the mood with lame one-liner wisdom and an about-face tragic twist, ultimately making this indie dramedy a total turnoff—tight buns be damned. The setup is straight out of a skin flick: An ab-ripped Mormon missionary, Elder Aaron Davis (Steve Sandvoss), moves to L.A.—populated, it seems, solely by nookie-starved male models doling out random BJs—and takes refuge in a Melrose Place–esque apartment complex. His neighbor, Christian (Wes Ramsey), is the ultimate cruiser, a too-pretty playa who claims he can “suck the engine block through the tailpipe of a ’58 Chevy.” After meeting the chaste, gay-averse Aaron, Christian makes a bet with his actor-waiter pals at a hip Hollywood eatery: “Wouldn’t it be funny if I converted him before he converted me?” Next: Christian seduces his easy mark basically by mooning him, the unlikely lovers get caught “macking like schoolgirls” by other missionaries, and Aaron is excommunicated, signaling the suddenly serious finale to this mess of a movie. Will hot gay action trump old-time religion? Who cares? Besides having no visual style, C.Jay Cox, who scripted the Reese Witherspoon vehicle Sweet Home Alabama, fumbles all attempts at humor—“I bet after sex, she smokes a ham”—and is laughable when he tries to go deep—“Life is not just dots. We’re all connected.” He’s great, however, at wocka-wocka soft-core scenes rife with double-entendres and mistaken-identity shenanigans that wouldn’t fool Mr. Roper. The Horny Mormon could have been swell; Latter Days, though, is just kinda limp. —Sean Daly