In a trilogy, the third entry is normally a closure film. Yet “Eating out: All You Can Eat” is an oddity, and most certainly it’s not a closure film in the normal sense. Killing off the male leads of the first two films before this one even begins is weird, but we are then introduced to a brand new cast of characters while keeping some hysterical minor ones. When this entry came out, it did not fit. However, with the two subsequent films that revolve around the new characters creating a trilogy itself, this third film actually ends up doing a great job to reboot the series. It’s also probably my favourite of all five films!
Let’s dig in for thirds!
Synopsis of “Eating Out: All You Can Eat”
Like the first two entries, “Eating Out: All You Can Eat” starts off with sex. This time, Tiffani (Rebekah Kochan) and a sexy Latino hunk are going at it on satin sheets, flowers all around… they’re working up quite a titillating scene – until he cries out “We’re in a coffin!” Yup – Tiffani is hooking up with a funeral home worker while at a funeral – cue the film’s title to the chorus of “Hallelujah!” while Tiffani claims: “I love funerals!” Turns out the funeral is for Marc and Kyle, who died in a car crash after colliding headfirst into Celine Dion’s tourbus while getting road head. [Stop laughing, I can’t make this up!] After Marc’s Aunt Helen (Mink Stole) finishes her eulogy, she calls up Tiffani who plays a little ditty – “Kumbaya” (stressing CUM), while her Latino hunk teases from the rear. Unable to hold it all in – her lust, not her tears – she runs off the altar needing to go “pray.”
After the funeral, Aunt Helen shows her nephew to his new room. Casey (Daniel Skelton), newly out and awkwardly shy, has come to live with his aunt in glorious L.A. Suddenly Casey’s phone rings – it’s Tiffani offering him a job at her salon, Nail Me. After quick and comedic introductions to the Asian coworkers, Tiffani drags Casey off to an ‘event-thingy’ that Kyle was going to take her to. Turns out, the event is the LGBT Centre’s Male Auction and she’s going to make Casey volunteer in order to get free tickets! But Casey doesn’t like centres because “they’re full of these old horn dogs trying to get laid… who don’t care about relationships”, reinforced by the flirting of Harry (Leslie Jordan) whose manning the front desk. But during Casey’s tirade, in walks Zack (Chris Salvatore) – and it’s love at first sight! But Zack already has a boyfriend, and Casey is placed into the dreaded friend-zone.
Except Zack’s not happy with his boyfriend, Lionel – so much that he breaks up with him, right in the middle of giving Lionel a blowjob! (Now that’s some strong self-resistance!) Dejected and lonely, Zack hops online to find another guy for mindless, meaningless sex. Meanwhile, Casey has gone online to stalk Zack – but Tiffani has a plan! Using pics of her ex-boyfriend, Ryan, they create a fake profile and chat up Zack. Ok, Casey tries to have a meaningful conversation while Zack is just looking for sex. Zack, claiming he’s in love with Ryan, takes his flirting to the next step and strips on webcam for “Ryan” – until Tiffani spills orange juice over Casey’s laptop ending the session. (And yes, we get our series frontal nudity shot!) During their planned meeting the next day, which Casey thinks is a date, Casey awkwardly tries to console Zack and get to know him better – until Ryan walks in. The REAL Ryan, who’s supposed to have moved away. Zack starts to talk to a confused Ryan, and after a comical non-verbal exchange between Casey and Tiffani (who’s there only to watch the drama), Tiffani subtly hints to Ryan at what’s happening and that Ryan is actually straight. But Ryan, still pissed at Tiffani, agrees to a date with Zack – just to piss Tiffani off!
What unfolds is a crazy farcical drama where Ryan goes along on a date with Zack, but eventually leaves unable to keep up the charade. Casey, resigned to the friend-zone while lusting after Zack, comes to Zack’s aid and they start to realise there’s something there. Until Ryan returns and confesses that Tiffani and Casey made the fake profile, and that Ryan isn’t even gay! Pissed off, Zack kicks them all out thus ruining any chance Casey had with Zack. Oddly, Ryan feels bad and teams up with Tiffani to bring Casey and Zack together. Initially, their plan doesn’t work – until Ryan uses his ‘stripper magic’ and ends up getting a blowjob from both of them while Tiffani watches and teases Ryan from behind a glass door! (Insert a second full frontal nudity shot, this time of Michael E.R. Walker!) Everything’s going great – until Zack receives a video from his ex of Lionel having sex with Casey. Zack leaves – again, while Tiffani and Ryan make up. With everything gone wrong, Casey plans to leave L.A. and go home – but Aunt Helen and Tiffani convince him to stay. Off they go to the centre’s fundraiser, where Tiffani is now the MC. But when Lionel and his friends bail on the auction, Zack persuades Ryan and Casey to model instead. In a heartfelt moment in the spotlight, Casey gives a speech on how he was wrong about the Centre and the community which results in Zack bidding his entire savings for Casey, before riding off together on Zack’s moped.
Compared to “Eating Out” and “Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds”, this third entry in what was initially a trilogy outshines the other films. But that’s also my only real issue with “Eating Out: All You Can Eat”. Trilogies follow a typical format, especially when they’re planned out in advance; but even when the success of a sequel pushes for a followup, certain things are expected in order to ‘wrap up’ the storyline of the trilogy. Usually, this includes the leading characters from the first two entries. But not with “Eating Out: All You Can Eat”. Instead, writers Phillip J. Bartell & Q. Allan Brocka killed off our leading characters and introduced new leads! While I utterly LOVE the new characters and the actors portraying them, when viewing this third entry as the capstone of a trilogy, it doesn’t work well.
I also had a slight issue with Chris Salvatore’s acting. While quite attractive and with a huge…. ‘talent’, overall he is enjoyable to watch. But there were a few moments where I felt his lines were rushed – and it wasn’t due to the character, but inexperience. The most obvious instance is during the scene between Zack and Casey in the park, right after Casey face plants. “Eating Out: All You Can Eat” is his first major film role and while his acting not a critical failure, the weakness is noticeable. But Chris has another hidden talent included in the film – that’s him singing over the credits!
As I note above, “Eating Out: All You Can Eat” does not work well as a capstone to a trilogy. BUT – it utterly shines as a reboot to the comical “Eating Out” series, actually spawning a trilogy itself! This third film is actually directed by Glenn Gaylord, while Phillip J. Bartell & Q. Allan Brocka take a step back and focus on the writing. And with a larger budget than the first two films, the overall production value here gives credit to the saying, third time’s a charm! The camera work is smooth with good lighting and setups, and the editing lets the witty comedy shine through without losing a beat.
Another aspect I really love is the script and the characterisations. It’s full of witty one-line zingers, many coming from Tiffani – although Casey has quite a few himself! This creates a comedic duo who are great to watch onscreen, especially when you add the jibes from their two Asian coworkers. But while there are plenty of stereotypes and cliches included in this film, there’s an overall depth to the characters that was missing from the first film and only hinted at in the second. As such, it’s refreshing to see the depth and change of Tiffani’s character arc and I was equally pleased that Aunt Helen takes on the motherly role.
Lastly, there are many heartfelt, tender moments during “Eating Out: All You Can Eat”. Harry not only reminds us how difficult it was growing up gay only a few decades ago, but also that revenge sex doesn’t always work out like you planned. Ryan actually gives us a tender moment while Casey is complaining about how he did everything right when he asks, “But when did you tell him [Zack] that you love him?” making Casey reflect and subtly advising us that sometimes we need to actually voice our feelings.
Is “Eating Out: All You Can Eat” an award-winning film? No – and that’s literally true! But this witty, campy comedy is simply enjoyable to watch while imparting some great lessons about relationships. And because of this third entry of the entire banquet’s setup, this film could easily stand up on its own; you could skip over the first two entries and start here. Either way, definitely check out this cute Rom-Com – it’s one of my favourites in the entire saga!