[This film review is part of the “Eating Out” Saga. To recap the entire saga, head over to THIS post!]
This last entry is perhaps the most heartfelt of the entries. If it weren’t for quick cameos of two hysterical characters from the earlier entries, this film acts more like the capstone of the trilogy with this cast. But it also works as a good ending for the entire series. And the twist is an intriguing one – an open relationship amid a gay weekend full of sex and hookups that would tempt even the strongest relationship. The result is full of laughs and farcical drama!
Benji enters the public bathroom and takes the middle stall. When another guy walks in, things start to heat up as their hands reach over… until Zack walks. Benji and our other guy return to their hand fun right in front of Zack. Zack asks “What’re you doing?” “Having fun – join in!” replies Benji, and before long there’s a group of guys surrounding around Benji, groping and rubbing each other… until Benji snaps Zack back to the real world. Yep, we’ve started off with a sexual fantasy again – this time though, Zack is worried about their agreed open relationship for the weekend: Benji is keen, but Zack isn’t. However, Zack finally agrees and they mutual tell each other “I lurv you” – until the guy in the bathroom stall blurts out “Do you guys need a top?” and they leave laughing.
While Zack, Benji, and Lilly continue their drive to Palm Springs; Casey and Penny arrive at the inn themselves. They’re finally cashing in on the vacation they won in “Eating Out: Drama Camp”. Except when checking in, they realise that they not only have to share the same room, but a bed as well! To make matters worse, it’s right next door to Zack and Benji’s room. Penny realises that her quirky cheeriness isn’t helping Casey, so she calls more ‘experienced’ fag hags: Tiffani and Aunt Hellen. Over the three-way phone convo, Casey admits that he’s worried because Zack wants to still be friends but Casey is still single. They both tell him to just have fun! Meanwhile, Zack is having a heart-to-heart with Lilly about how he’s worried what Casey will think of the open relationship. Lilly ordered some cocktails, which are delivered by a sexy, straight, latino Luis who’s quite flirtatious! Back at the poolside, Casey runs into Peter – a friend from high school who apparently had a major crush on Casey. But Peter’s only here for hot fun – after all, it IS a gay party weekend!
Later on, Casey runs into Zack & Benji but Benji leaves before it gets even more awkward. Casey and Zack have that first awkward “let’s be friends” talk, except Casey blurts out that he’s met someone there already – oops! Now he’s got to find a guy to pretend to be his boyfriend before tomorrow. Enter Peter again, who’s game to go to funky town with Casey but definitely not keen to pretend to be his boyfriend. However, after Zack & Benji walk up to them at the pool party later, Peter caves and agrees – and Casey’s buying his drinks all weekend! However, the couple’s brunch the following morning is entirely awkward and ends up with both couples making out and fondling each other. The weekend progresses while Benji and Zach explore their open relationship, which is mostly Benji hooking up – and Casey notices! However, this finally allows Casey to loosen up a bit and he finally hooks up with Peter.
While the boys are having fun, Penny also takes notices of Luis, which results in the two girls battling over the only straight boy around. However, there’s a bit of drama when Luis discovers Lilly’s hormone pills – but he shuns Penny saying that he likes “real” women. The next day, Casey, still awkward about catching Benji cheating on Zach, final chats with Zach about why their relationship failed. But they get interrupted by Benji and Peter, who’ve noticed that something odd is going on among them all. This awkward situation suddenly turns sexual and an orgy nearly begins – with Penny and Lilly hiding under the bed! (Lilly was trying to get her pills back) Things erupt when they’re discovered and everyone’s secrets come spilling out. But when Benji proposes to Zack as a form of protest, Zack agrees. Everything appears to be lost for our characters but don’t worry, everyone ends up happy in the end. This IS a comedy after all!
Overall, I enjoy “Eating Out: The Open Weekend” – though it’s not my favourite of the series. Part of that is because our iconic characters Tiffani (Rebekah Kochan) and Aunt Helen (Mink Stole), who tie the entire saga together, are barely in this film. They both are squeezed into a short cameo three-way phone call that barely lasts a couple minutes. Aunt Helen is having sex in Casey’s bed (again!), and Tiffani is burying a body in the woods while wearing a bikini … yeah. Tiffani says she’ll “explain in the sequel”, but I seriously have to question why they were even included.
The other issue I have is with Luis. I’m not at all a fan of his character, or how Alvaro Manrique portrays him. A straight guy working at an all gay resort in Palm Springs? Sorry, but that’s rather unrealistic. And his little “problem”… yeah, even less believable and frankly, just weird. I get that they needed a character for Lilly and Penny to interact with at this gay resort, but the anti-trans attitude is rather weak and distasteful. Not to mention that Lilly is still pre-op… so I find it rather odd that Luis suddenly decides to have a threesome with Penny AND Lilly.
Just like the “All You Can Eat” and “Drama Camp”, this fifth and final entry are by the same writing team: Phillip J. Bartell, Q. Allan Brocka with Brocka stepping in as director again. And for this last entry, the production value is quite good. Heck, they actually filmed “Drama Camp” and “The Open Weekend” simultaneously back in 2011 – the films were even initially released within months of each other. This continuity among the films, at least the last three, further helps tie the saga together. (Though I’ll freely admit that I view the first two films separately from the last three simply due to production quality).
“Eating Out: The Open Weekend” also has a couple of great scripted moments such as Zack and Lilly discussing the trouble and rules that come with an open relationship. Or the touching moment between Lilly and Penny as they talk about what it feels like to be a real woman – after losing her virginity for Penny, and how Lilly expects to feel after her final surgery. But let’s not forget the great comedy – such as when Penny tells Lilly “You’ve got balls!”… before realising exactly what she said! (Lilly didn’t take offense, it’s ok!) But probably the best scripted moment is when Casey offers to be Zack’s flower girl at his wedding. Despite their tumultuous relationship and the fact that Zack is about to marry Benji in a political statement, Casey offers because he wants Zack to be happy and to keep Zack in his life. Perhaps it’s the simple and romantic underscoring, or perhaps it’s because of the ongoing connection we have with both guys over the span of three films, but it’s hard not to be moved during this scene.
If the third entry, “Eating Out: All You Can Eat” was the reboot and start of a new trilogy, “Eating Out: The Open Weekend” is the final capstone of our lead characters. As such, this last film cannot stand alone; but it wraps up each of their character arcs and like all good rom-coms, everyone is happy in the end. We get an extra perk because this film included same-sex marriage at a time when even civil unions were not common. Even though there is plenty of sex, comedy, and even the typical male frontal nudity, there are also some deeper meanings which make “The Open Weekend” a pleasure to watch.