R U Invited? (DVD Review)1 Jun, 2008 By: Billy Gil
Prebook 6/3/08; Street 7/15/08
Stars Oscar Contreras, John de los Santos, Phil Harrington, Christopher Jones, Brandon Dixon, Gabriel Praddo, David Matherly.
R U Invited? aims to push boundaries — five gay guys discuss their relationships, sexual histories and personal habits while awaiting invitations to a sex party — but ends up being campier than an episode of “Queer as Folk.” Ironically, a little more camp would have helped.
Gordy (Contreras) is a sweet, inexperienced guy anxious to show his friends he's just as sexually daring as they are. Ben (de los Santos) is happily in an open relationship with sugar-daddy Anderson (Harrington). Mondo (Praddo) and Jason (Matherly) are testing the open waters in their six-month relationship. And Charlie (Jones) is generally bitchy and troublesome.
Credit is due to writer-director Israel Luna for not merely spitting out gay stereotypes for his five guys in question. That's not to say these guys are particularly deep, or that their relationships are very interesting, or their frank talk of gay sex and nudity very shocking — but at least it's not five guys talking about shoes and sex toys for 85 minutes.
What emerges is a film that's far less sexual, and more emotionally grounded, than it first appears. The “sex party” in question takes about a minute of film time, while the rest of the film is spent exploring the insecurities unearthed by waiting for the thing to happen. It's a good idea, but the endless banter and soul searching wears thinner than a pair of edible undies.
Some of these conversations play out better than others — some are funny, many are unintentionally funny, and very few are poignant. At one point Charlie's drag queen boyfriend (Wade) comes to visit for a hilarious beatdown of his cheating boyfriend. The levity is welcome; a few more scenes like that could have elevated R U Invited? to the quality camp status of recent films such as Eating Out 2 and Another Gay Movie.