Tiffany (Rebekah Kochan) wants to hook her geeky gay, Casey (Daniel Skelton), with a buff gay, Zack (Greek god and singer Chris Salvatore). To do so, they create a phony web profile with photos of her ex-boyfriend Ryan (Michael Walker), and Zack falls in love with the phony web identity: Geeky gay and buff gay develop an online relationship until the real Ryan shows up, the authenticity of the profile is debunked, and drah-ma ensues.
Fighting for the right to commit the same kind of cinematic atrocities heterosexual Hollywood thrives on must be on director Glenn Gaylord’s activist agenda. Eating Out: All You Can Eat may refreshingly objectify male bodies (giving female ones a little break), solidify the fag hag as a legitimate figure essential to gay culture, and realistically represent the pervasiveness of online hook-ups. But it achieves all that by reproducing the very stereotypes and ideologies of its mindless hetero-centric counterparts. In this world, all gay men want is to get laid, and even the ones who have a penchant for romanticism are ultimately overcome by the god almighty straight—or, at least, straight-looking—phallus. Women are either sexual (and, therefore, nymphos) or not sexual at all (and, therefore, weirdos).
Not that nuance must be a comedy’s forte, but most of All You Can Eat unravels as a series of self-conscious fragments and bitchy one-liners. Some are funny (“Assholes are like snowflakes”), some as flat as its characters (“I always thought you were gayer than a midnight screening of Showgirls”), but all gratuitously crude.
The problem with gay films is that because so few of them become successful, the ones that do carry a big burden of representational responsibility. All You Can Eat succeeds as symptomatic realism, creating a closed world in which the only homophobia is the one that gays internalize into fetish (how straight-acting are you?) and technology functions as the necessary third party in all transactions. But it pays no attention to what is actually interesting and tragically funny about the digital condition: the end of spontaneity and intimacy under the guise of unlimited contact.
All You Can Eat, which boasts a perceptive final sequence, can probably trigger a few good laughs from the fags and hags in the audience who recognize on-screen cartoonish versions of themselves. But in 2009, it seems both sad and silly to aim for the mediocrity of sitcom laughter and then wonder why, as the late Eve Sedgwick reminded us, the good homosexual is either the masculine homosexual or the dead one.