Eating Out

Eating Out

2004, NR, 90 min. Directed by Q. Allan Brocka. Starring Scott Lunsford, Jim Verraros, Emily Stiles, Ryan Carnes.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 27, 2005

If you’ve been waiting for a gay/straight comedy of errors that opens with an interminably cringe-worthy rape scene before devolving into the kind of stereotypical repartée and borderline offensive situations that would make Ron Jeremy and Jeff Stryker look like the Algonquin Round Table, then pal, your film has arrived. It’s just too bad it’s not still stuck in a plain brown wrapper. Chiseled straight hunk Caleb (Lunsford) is at a loss for why he can’t seem to nail down the type of girl with whom he’d like to spend the rest of his life until his trés queer roomie Kyle (Verraros, late of American Idol) explains that the problem lies not with Caleb, per se, but instead with his sexual preference. If he were gay, Kyle explains, he could have his pick of the kitty, since straight girls are apparently all mad about the gayboys. As fate and director/screenwriter Brocka would have it, Caleb has his sights set on blond sexbomb Gwen (Stiles), whose roommate Marc (Carnes) just happens to be Kyle’s secret target o’ love. You can almost see the cogs and flywheels grind steadily toward some sort of disastrous, mistaken sexual identity third act as Kyle urges the none-too-bright Caleb to pretend to bat for the other side in order to woo his lady love. Brocka’s film is the sort of sub-Showtime sex comedy that makes you pine for the good old days of Gregg Araki’s libidinous, utterly over-the-top (and bottom) early work like, for example, The Doom Generation, which at least had the good sense to round its own bi-sex ménage à trois out with a heaping helping of gore-drenched emasculation and James Duval. Alas, Araki has apparently traded in his SoCal carnival theatrics for a new and critically acclaimed maturity with his upcoming Mysterious Skin, leaving fans of the edgier borders of the New Queer Cinema stuck with also-rans, could’ve-beens, and ain’t-gonna-happens like Eating Out, one of those rare, non-XXX films whose title pretty much tells you everything you’re ever going to want to know about it. "My parents think I’m nuts for chasing gay boys," remarks Gwen, in the midst of giving a backrub to a man she presumes to be gay. "Maybe they’d lighten up if I told them I was into orgiastic splendor." Bad dialogue like this isn’t easy to come up with and when, later in the film, the Caleb/Gwen/Marc trio finally get it on in one of the most teasingly snooze-inducing threesomes since Jack met Janet and Chrissy, it’s all one can do not to wonder when and how gay comedy so fully misplaced its sense of humor. Brocka previously helmed the animated Spike & Mike favorite "Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World," which used the vastly more emotionally engaging medium of Lego toys to milk laughs from a far wittier script. Here’s hoping someone breaks down and buys Brocka some more toys, if only to distract him from embarking on another flesh-and-blood production.

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Eating Out, Q. Allan Brocka, Scott Lunsford, Jim Verraros, Emily Stiles, Ryan Carnes

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