Last night PJ and I watched Eating Out: Drama Camp, the latest in the farcical series of gay movies that specialize in the sexual hi-jinks of young gay men and their lady friends.
In this fourth installment of the franchise, Zack and Casey, the leading men introduced in the third movie, Eating Out: All You Can Eat, are still together but having some problems in the bedroom: Zack, played by Chris Salvatore, no longer seems interested in Casey, played by Daniel Skelton. These problems are compounded by their heading off to a drama camp, where temptations to stray abound.
Eating Out: Drama Camp is hilariously sexy and loads of fun! This is queer, bawdy humor at its best.
The third installment of this franchise seemingly sent the series in a new, much more interesting direction: the main characters were all played by gay men, the plot revolved around Casey’s efforts to seduce Zack, another gay guy, and it all added up to a lot of heart. While maybe it shouldn’t matter whether the actors are gay, I really liked that Skelton and Salvatore were out during their promotion of the movie. I was tired of some of he earlier movies’ stars efforts to distance themselves from the plots’ gay content. Likewise, I liked that All You Can Eat was about one gay guy chasing another openly gay guy. The is-he-or-isn’t he plot of the second movie wore thin for me. And I liked the combination of sexual humor, romance, and sentiment in the third movie. It all added up to a queer comedy made for and by queers, something I both admire and enjoyed.
So, PJ and I were looking forward to part 4. This still from the movie illustrates Casey’s and Zack’s sexual problems: Casey is pining for sexual contact from Zack while pleasuring himself, since Zack isn’t giving him any:
Skelton (on the left) shone in the previous movie for his ability to play earnest, naive, and sexy all at the same time. I’m not usually into blond twinks, but I think Skelton is totally hot too. All of this allows him to anchor both movies, giving us a sympathetic perspective with which to follow all of the shenanigans. Casey loves Zack and just wants to be with him, but Zack has gotten bored.
This still also demonstrates that Salvatore (on the right) is also totally smokin’ hot. One of the motifs of the third movie is whether someone like Zack would ever want to be with a twink like Casey. It’s not surprising then that Drama Camp immediately makes Zack the object of another guy’s lust.
In this case, it’s Benji, played by Aaron Milo (who demonstrates in this photo what low-rise pants are for!):
Zack’s utter disinterest in his boyfriend leads Benji to assume that he’s single when they first meet. When Casey corrects that misperception, Benji gets embarrassed and, without thinking, claims to be straight. As he later explains, he doesn’t want to interfere in Casey’s and Zack’s relationship, so he claims to be straight so things won’t be awkward. Needless to say, this claim doesn’t lower the sexual tension between him and Zack, and the two are cast in a production that plays up that tension for all it’s worth.
Two additional stand outs are worth noting. Ronnie Kroell of Make Me a Supermodel fame has a small role as Beau, a sweet guy who is attracted to Casey but who also doesn’t want to interfere in his relationship with Zack.
Kroell is beautiful, and the movie makes the most of this by getting him naked from time to time. I always appreciate male nudity in my cinema, so I definitely liked Kroell’s willingness to bare all. But I also thought he did well in the part apart from that. He foregrounds Beau’s likability, and I wish his part had been larger (no pun intended).
The other breakout star of Drama Camp is Harmony Santana, a transgendered actress who plays Lilly, a transitioning MTF actress who is attracted to Casey and Zack’s straight friend, Jason, played by Garikayi Mutambirwa. She’s great in this role, especially in a beautiful scene in which Lilly describes how complicated it is to date guys as a transwoman–too often she knows who she is, but they don’t know what dating her says about them. A google search about Santana shows that she’s embarking on a very successful career.
The comic mayhem revolves around the camp director’s insistence that great art comes from sexual abstention. He even announces that he will expel any campers who engage in sexual activity while they’re at the drama camp. This adds to the tension experienced by each of the movie’s couples, a tension that explodes when Casey decides to encourage Zack to explore his desire for Benji. The climax, pun intended, is set up when the camp director is seduced by one of the campers, played by reality star turned gay porn star Steven Daigle, who deliciously throws himself into his role as Conor.
Overall, this movie was fun, sexy, and funny — everything a queer comedy should be. It isn’t trying too hard to be something it’s not, yet it also manages to say a little something about relationships, transgender issues, and sex. I can’t wait for the next installment, which has already been shot. It looks just as great (though I wish Ronnie Kroell were in it too!):