A rose by any other name would suck as bad

If anyone has learned anything from film sequels, it’s that if the first one sucked, chances are the second one will suck more.

Phillip J. Bartell and Q. Allan Brocka take this to a whole new level in their addition to this year’s Fairy Tales gay and lesbian film festival, Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds.

Proud of being “the first American gay sequel ever”–apart from a number of releases by companies with names like Banana Boy Video, etc.–the film follows the frolics of newly-single Kyle (Jim Verraros) as he tries to score with ripped nude artist model Troy (Marco Dapper) by pretending to be straight and joining an ex-gay support group. Meanwhile, Kyle’s ex-boyfriend, Marc (Brett Chuckerman) has his own plans for Troy, and pursues him as his out-gay self. Which one will seduce Troy first?

The first thought that comes to mind when watching the opening scene–of two dudes getting it on in a kind of bad porno-foreplay dialogue­–is a strange blend of open-mindedness, culture shock and mild dread, not so much because it’s two men having sex but that the movie actually starts out like a bad porno. The second thought is: “What the fuck?” as this turns out to be Gwen (Emily Brooke Hands) divulging her fantasy as a heterosexual woman to exclusively date and have sex with gay men.

This is a weird film. Not because it’s a gay one. Gay isn’t weird. In a post-Brokeback world of Ellen DeGeneres, Portia DeRossi, Rupert Everett, The L-Word and Queer as Folk, gay is almost more acceptable than being straight. Gay’s fine. What’s weird is a film with detrimental identity issues. On the one hand, Eating Out has the plot workings of a pretty standard mainstream comedy: the object of desire, a collection of peripheral ideas that are mildly funny in and of themselves (like the ex-gay support group called “Coming In”), a grand message to be learned, complete with a token black guy substitute embodied by a goth lesbian. The good guys and gals hook up and the bad ones get theirs. Even the lighting is similar to glossy teen comedy productions like American Pie and Van Wilder.

On the other hand, the film is way more explicit than even the “unrated” versions of its hetero counterparts, with several counts of full-frontal nudity. A person with less class might insert a joke about the climax of the movie, except that the writers already made it, as the ex-gay support group leader Jacob (Scott Vickaryous) climaxes all over his mom’s (Sarah Lilly) chest. It’s explicit–way more explicit than it’s quality warrants. Audiences looking for gay porn could probably find better offerings on the net and those looking for teen comedy are sure to be disappointed with the lack of laughs.

Therein lies the real problem with Eating Out 2. It’s not nearly funny enough to justify itself. At least Jason Biggs’ pie-fucking antics were balanced with some simple Eugene Levy humour. Plus, quality is what ultimately separates a mainstream film from porn. Look at Basic Instinct. Sharon stone flashes her va-jay-jay and the sex scenes are long and drawn out, but because there was some substance it got an Oscar nod. Eating Out, however, will be lucky if it gets relegated to the soft-core rack in Blockbuster.


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