There are at least two types of indie cinema. You’ve got
indie-pop—the stuff like Clerks, Donnie Darko, and
Garden State. Then there’s the b-indie, b for bad,
and Eating Out probably falls into that category.
Eating Out is a horrible and excruciatingly conceived
sex comedy. Caleb (Lunsford) has a crush on Gwen
(Hands), or “fag hag” as she’s
dubbed in the story. Caleb wants to go out with Gwen, but she seems
to have a homosexual fetish. Unwittingly, Caleb is set up with Gwen’s
gay roommate and ex-boyfriend Marc (Carnes). Caleb
also has a gay roommate, Kyle (Verraros), who has
a crush on Marc and figures if Caleb goes out with Marc it will
get Kyle and Marc closer. And by proxy Caleb will get with Gwen.
Got all that?
So you basically have the comedy of errors, mismatching except none
of it works… not even remotely. The way the characters, especially
Gwen, discuss sex and relationships is simply repulsive, offensive,
and stereotypical. At one point, before Caleb goes on a date with
Marc, Gwen attempts to seduce him, and Caleb lies and says he’s
a virgin of both hetero and homosexual intercourse. Gwen queries
that he should try the “normal” stuff before he goes
“dick” or something like that. Now without getting into
a big debate and trying to be as diminutively inoffensive as possible,
I’m a theatre major and I know gay people. And if there is
one thing that gays are sensitive and defensive about, it’s
when they are not considered normal. With that in mind, one would
figure a “fag hag” like Gwen would be a little more
sensitive about that.
The sudden attraction Caleb has toward Gwen, and his charade in
order to hook up with her (third base with Marc) is ridiculously
inconceivable. I just couldn’t buy that he or any level-headed
person would pretend to be gay and go out with another guy to go
out with an uber-bitch like her. It certainly doesn’t speak
much of the talents or lack thereof for writer/director Brocka.
I’ve seen better direction, narrative coherence, and potential
out of student shorts my friends made in high school as Spanish
class projects. Yaoi fangirls and slash aficionados might get something
out of this. But sane viewers and true film fans—I would suggest
seeking professional assistance if you do.
—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris