Eating Out: The Open Weekend

Eating Out: The Open Weekend

**1/2

Reviewed by: Sophie Monks Kaufman

“I will never truly understand the gays,” murmurs Penny, the only anatomically correct female in Eating Out: The Open Weekend. She is watching as, at a neighbouring table, her best friend’s double brunch date turns porno. Watching the fifth sequel in Q Allan Brocka’s comedy film series left me feeling equally unenlightened about the gays. Every character is reducible down to a variation on the theme of sexually open, pop-culture-quoting and hot.

Which isn’t to say this 79-minute soap opera is unentertaining. Clever dialogue blazes through weaker elements of the production. Lines such as: “Oh my god, a gay guy’s acting slutty. Call TMC!” go some distance towards letting you forgive The Open Weekend for its predictable plot and ludicrous setting. Whatever you think of his film-making, Brocka would make a valuable party guest.

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Tangled love lives are the engine of the plot. Casey and Zack have split up. Zack has a shockingly fit new boyfriend but there is a caveat. For one trial weekend, the shockingly fit new boyfriend wants to experiment with having an open relationship. To ramp up the odds of this time-sensitive arrangement leading to action, the couple is heading to a gay resort. Casey, for motivations best described as “plot enabling”, is going to the resort too. He’s packed his best gal pal, Penny, to justify his narrative exposition and serve as that essential stereotype, the “fag hag”.

Of course, the gay resort premise is just an easy way to have hordes of extremely buff men wandering around in towels. In several memorable scenes, these towels get lost. Unsubtle certainly, but given the extent of female objectification in all media forms, it’s refreshing that the tanned, toned flesh on display is male. Penny provides the voice for the female libido announcing dreamily on arrival, “My goal this weekend is to watch two guys have sex”. Lilach Mendelovich plays Penny with a sweetness that makes her sleazy remarks comically surprising and endearing. It is damning that the best character in a gay film is a straight female. The gay chraracters are too similar and turn into one blurry foursome. There is actually a scene like this.

Brocka probably thinks he’s doing enough for the gay community by offering buff men in witty guises, he’s even thrown in a female perspective to give straight women a stake. But to paraphrase Glen, one half of a gay couple in the universally relatable Weekend, “The straight males won’t bother watching because it’s nothing to do with their world.” It’s a shame that someone with the evident writing skill of Brocka hasn’t challenged himself to create a film that invites understanding instead of perpetuating stereotypes.

Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2012
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Eating Out: The Open Weekend packshot
Four gay men figure out their romantic and sexual desires.
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