You know, there are a lot of times I walk away from gay films remembering that quote from Will & Grace:
“Let me tell you a little secret that we try to keep within the community: Gay movies suck. But until the laws change, we’re still obligated to go see ‘em.”
Watching Eating Out: The Open Weekend is one of those times.
There are several gay movies I love. Adam and Steve is a cute romcom with well-employed toilet humour and fun – and Parker Posey. Shortbus is a beautiful exploration of different types of relationships – and two hot guys called Jamie and a pretty Jay Brannan as Ceth with a C. C*R*A*Z*Y is a great coming-of-age story – of a cute guy with a Bowie obsession. Last year’s Weekend was an endearing story of a guy’s last weekend in town – and the guys were nice to look at. I may be sensing a theme here.
I must admit that I’ve never seen any of the Eating Out films up until now, so I can’t really comment on what the others are like and I’ll stick to this one. It feels like they’ve tried to throw in as much as possible: crass humour, a faghag or two, a transgender character, a committed couple, a couple where one of the guys can’t commit, a young guy trying to find his way as a single guy, a dirty weekend away at a gay resort, a hot straight guy who loves flirting with everyone. Ultimately, though, it’s a recipe with too many ingredients and none of which mix well.
The clichés come thick and fast. Replete with clunky pickup lines like “I wanna wrap my legs around your face like a pair of Bono sunglasses”, two women fighting over the one straight man, two girls sitting under the bed while someone (or four) have sex on top, it’s very “These are the Gays of Our Lives.” Yes, and one of the characters does use that line.
Then there are the pop cultural references: It Gets Better, Fleshlight, Barack & Michelle Obama, Rachel Maddow, Harry Potter (in the form of a broomstick dildo), Anderson Cooper, The Human Centipede and Rihanna’s Umbrella, to name a few.
Add in the godawful toilet humour – people with tails, cum-filled fleshlights erupting all over a naïf, someone using a vibrator while secretly watching other people have sex – and the ridiculous plot device about a ‘Liberace’ loophole that allows gays to get married for one hour only, and it feels OTT.
Did I mention the giant holes in the plot? Somehow characters who are barely talking to each other find each other in bed together, then they get into an argument, then are suddenly best friends. Or they get jealous at sex-filled brunches which are more nauseous than hot. And the overarching story about two exes – well, let’s just say you know how it’s going to end.
And the sex scenes? Well, they’re a little blah. The opening scene, set in a toilet for example. What could be really hot just turns into an over-acted mess.
All that said, there are two things keeping this film together. First off: the hot guys. Chris Salvatore, although from some angles a Ken dollish figure, is very nice to look at, even if he composed the terrible soundtrack. So are Michael Vara and Aaron Milo as Peter and Casey.
The other one is Harmony Santana. She’s the least overactor in the piece – which means that there are some times when she’s actually entertaining and others where she seems genuine.
It’s not a great film. I wouldn’t even call it a good film. But if you’re looking for something with pretty guys and can’t be bothered thinking anything through, it’ll get you through a lazy patch. To paraphrase a friend, it’s the perfect hangover movie for boys who like shiny things.
Eating Out: The Open Weekend is out now on DVD.