DVD Review - Eating Out: The Open Weekend

This is the fifth in the Eating Out series of films. At this point, it's equivalent to the American Pie series of films. It's all about love and sex and the funny ways people get in and out of them. Writers Phillip J. Bartell and Q. Allan Brocka are great with the snappy one-liners, as insults, insight, and pop culture inferences that are hilarious from beginning to end. Director Q. Allan Brocka is equally so with his fast-paced and peppy vibe that keeps this movie moving at finger-snapping speeds. The numerous split screens and slide wipes give this sequel a visual energy that all the previous lacked.

Really, the only time Brocka slows down is to ogle naked boys of which this movie has plenty, and all of them chiseled, most looking like they were pulled from Men's Health magazine. As one character calls it, it's a "never-ending parade of man-whores with muscles." Being that a lot of scenes occur pool side, it's like one long, male swimsuit show. Being that every scene always finds some reason to have every guy be shirtless, from strip tennis to a sarong party, this movie could also double for one long, underwear ad.

As he's managed to do in almost, every one, Brocka does get the underwear off a couple of the guys for full-frontal male nudity. This time around, it's from personal trainer and Playgirl model Greg McKeon and reality TV star Alvaro Orlando. Yes, it's gratuitous. Yes, it's prurient, but, much in the same way that Jason Segel showed his penis in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), the actual swinging dicks here are more for the comedic shock value and not for the pornographic motive.

There are gay sex scenes here, all of which get steamy and really hot, but all of them are in service to the humor. There is no fornication without the climax being some kind of gag, and not the choking kind. Brocka's tone and direction elevates this from just being softcore porn with jokes. Yet, even if it didn't, it'd still make for entertaining, if awkward gay erotica. It pushes gay male fantasy, while also providing a hook so that we can laugh at it, giving us a release valve so that we're comfortable watching guys jerk each other off. For example, every Eating Out film has included a sex scene involving three people that wasn't a threesome, as it was a twosome instigated and actively encouraged by a third person in the room. The Open Weekend is no different.

Aaron Milo as "Benji"
Chris Salvatore stars as Zack, a college student who first appeared in the third Eating Out who meets Casey, the cousin of the main character from the first two Eating Out films. Casey, played by Daniel Skelton, lies in order to get close to Zack by pretending to be someone that he's not, which is the reoccurring theme in all the Eating Out stories. The fourth and previous Eating Out introduced Benji, played by Aaron Milo, the eye-candy who does the same thing that Casey did and succeeds in stealing Zack away. The fourth and previous movie also gave us Lilly, played by Harmony Santana, the transgendered, aspiring actress who befriends Zack, as well as Penny, played by Lilach Mendelovich, the virginal and overly enthusiastic yet naive, aspiring actress who befriends Casey.

Eating Out: The Open Weekend has the best retention rate of all the movies because all those characters, as played by all the same actors return for this installment. Zack and Benji spend three days in Palm Springs, a desert city equidistant between Los Angeles and San Diego. Where at once it was a mecca for college students on spring break, now Palm Springs is a popular gay tourism destination. Casey vacations in the same resort. Being that he has no boyfriend, Casey brings Penny along as his girl Friday or as is the term his "fag hag." Lilly is there too because she won a free vaction in the last movie.

The problem begins when Zack begins to question his relationship with Benji who says he wants to be with Zack but also have sex with other guys. Benji doesn't believe in monogamy, whereas Zack does. Zack agrees to let Benji be promiscuous, but when Casey shows up, Zack lies about it. Casey also lies and pretends he has a boyfriend. Peter, played by Michael Vara, an old high school friend who just happens to be in town, helps with Casey's pretense. Hijinks ensue. Meanwhile, Lilly and Penny fight over the only heterosexual male in Palm Springs, a flirtatious bartender named Luis, played by the aforementioned Alvaro Orlando whose full-frontal nudity won't be as surprising as his full-back ass nudity.

Daniel Skelton (left) and Chris Salvatore
in "Eating Out: The Open Weekend"
The movie is predictable as to how it's going to end. What I enjoyed, as a person who has watched every movie in the series, is that this one vastly improves on the last. Clearly, the previous movie was merely a setup for this one. This movie even opens as the last one did with a bathroom scene. This one is funnier, and I actually think it's the best work from Brocka outside Boy Culture (2006) and Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World. This movie like a few of the others has a post credits scene that's probably the most outrageous of them all. Also, listen out for Chris Salvatore who contributes two songs to the soundtrack. I must say that Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds still stands as my favorite, but this one was a good entry.

Four Stars out of Five.
Not Rated But Recommended for Mature Audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 21 mins.

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