Ariztical Entertainment // 2004 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 16th, 2005
Caleb: Are you looking for Mr. Right Now?
Kyle: Please. I'll settle Mr. Five Minutes Ago.
In a bizarre, twisted way this movie is offensive, but still fluffy fun. There's a certain voyeuristic glee in seeing a finalist from American Idol (Jim Verraros) in a gay movie with a guy who's been a featured bit player on Desperate Housewives (Ryan Carnes). It's something that makes your head spin, as reality television meets sordid soap opera in a softcore gay teen sex comedy that tries to play out like Shakespeare or French farce. Got your attention yet?
Caleb (Scott Lunsford, Near Death) is dumped by his slutty girlfriend (Rebekah Kochan, Artistic License). He goes home to commiserate with his gay roommate, Kyle (Verraros from American Idol, known primarily as "the guy with deaf parents"). At a party, Kyle and Caleb run into a wildcat woman named Gwen (Emily Brooke Hands, Different), who seems to fall exclusively for gay guys. Her best friend is there, a gay heartbreaker Kyle lusts after named Marc (Carnes, who has appeared on Desperate Housewives as Bree's gay son's lover). Caleb likes Gwen, and Kyle likes Marc, but neither seem interested in them. So Caleb pretends to like Marc so that he can get Gwen to think he's gay and make her become attracted to him. And Kyle hopes to be there to pick up the pieces of Marc's broken heart when he finds out Caleb is straight. The whole lover's quadrangle gets really messed up when everyone seems to cross a line, and a dinner party is thrown to tell all the participants the truth. But then someone's entire family shows up, so the lies that are the truth have to be told. Then the lies become the truth, and the truth becomes lies, and I'm confusing even myself at this point. Let's just say it all gets overly complicated before long.
Eating Out is a raunchfest of a movie that makes American Pie look downright subtle and deeply nuanced. It toured around as part of many gay and lesbian film festivals this past year, and got mild interest due to the celebrity of having two actors from much more popular television vehicles. It wants to be a Shakespeare comedy, or French farce, or at least a pop culture lovefest that Joss Whedon might try to crank out. Problem is it has little more than sex appeal to offer up, and misses all the pacing that could have made it funny and farcical. It makes the mistake of being too slow about everything but its sexuality.
One climactic scene that had me squirming in my chair involves a "straight" guy who is serviced by a gay male while on the phone with a very verbal female. It's supposed to be funny and naughty, but it comes off as creepy. The logic behind the scene doesn't work, and it seems like a gay fantasy. It's the kind of fluid sexuality that will isolate the movie from anything but a gay or female audience. It takes three of the characters to a place where we question their intentions, and wonder if any of them care about anything except getting off. The filmmakers should have been smarter and realized they were entering into a scene that compromised their story.
Eating Out is peppered with lines that are meant to be cruelly funny, but which just come off as nasty and mean-spirited. You know a movie is stooping to a bitchy low when Anne Frank becomes a punch line. The script seems to be mean-spirited in several ways, and it always teeters on the edge of being downright offensive. It relies too heavily on sexual dialogue that is meant to be funny, but comes off crass. I'm certainly aware that Will and Grace has made bitchy gay banter hip, but when you have a character saying about the gay community "We aren't pirates, we just dress like them!" it goes a little too far.
I found myself laughing despite the guilt over how cruel the lines were. There is some fun to be had in Eating Out, and most of it comes out of the actors. They are a pretty fun group, even if the script prevents the characters from being sympathetic. And did I mention they're all great eye candy? The nudity will further keep any straight guys from sitting through the flick. Even though there are more straight sex scenes than gay ones, no female nudity is to be found. On the other hand, there is plenty of male full frontal for fans of the wang on screen. Just be wary of where you rent Eating Out if you're seeking some male members, because I hear some outlets are offering the movie without the frontal images. (And yet the same stores offer plenty of rentals featuring fully frontal naked females -- hypocrites.)
The presentation is fine. Nice transfer, full sound, and a commentary. Certainly nothing wrong with the technical end here. The image is surprisingly solid for a movie shot in ten days, and the colors are true to life. Sound is limited to delivering the dialogue and music, and the occasional sex noise. The commentary includes all of the major players plus the director, and it's like the movie -- light, fluffy, bitchy, but fun.
Eating Out offers a somewhat entertaining movie, if you're not easily offended and a fan of the male form. The cast is cute. Even though they deliver impossibly bitchy lines throughout increasingly ludicrous situations, it breezes by. I was offended, but I did have fun wondering who would be naked next or say something to make my eyes roll. The movie is a testament to the ever-growing gay movie industry -- it's a gross-out teen sex comedy along the lines of Porky's. If you've been longing for that, Eating Out should top your list.
Guilty of being a gay gross-out sex comedy that makes the straight ones look downright tame and overly sentimental. Eating Out is not for the faint of heart, but offers a rude diversion if you're looking for that type of thing.
Review content copyright © 2005 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Ariztical Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Commentary by Director and Actors