Most filmgoers are looking to know what is a can’t-miss
entry at a film festival. At OutFest this year, there is at least one film that
should be missed: writer/director J.C. Calciano’s “The 10 Year Plan.”
This lousy rom-com has the blandly handsome buddies Myles (Jack Turner) and
Brody (Michael Adam Hamilton) agreeing to become boyfriends if they don’t find
partners in ten years. Is there any guess as to what happens?
It is fine that Calciano’s film takes a path to the obvious—the
problem is it is never interesting, amusing, or even sexy. Undemanding rom-coms
certainly have their place in gay cinema, but “The 10 Year Plan” lamely strives for
the lowest common denominator every time. His superficial characters represent
qualities—hopeless romantic and horndog—not people. Why the mismatched Myles
and Brody are even friends, much less guys who would make a silly pact to
become lovers, is one concern viewers may have during the film.
Myles turns off guys because he loves too much; Brody turns
guys on perhaps because he loves them and leaves them. While realism is not
necessary in rom-com, gay or straight, Calciano’s lame film mostly uses these odd
couple characters to mines laughs using queer tropes. Brody is a gay cop, which
is somehow meant to be hilarious—because
being a gay cop challenges queer stereotypes, right? Meanwhile Myles cooks and
cares for and overshares with his would-be boyfriends like a perfect wife. Sure
it’s all exaggerated for comic effect, but it has to be funny. Nothing in “The 10 Year Plan” is remotely humorous.
tries to show Myles how to get laid (or at least feel pleasure), he takes him
to sex shops to buy dildos and for drinks at go-go bars (because there aren’t
any other kind, right?) These episodes may perhaps have been included to be
titillating, but they are hardly. Myles naiveté about sex toys is meant to show
him being open to new experiences. And when
Myles screws up his courage to meet a hookup, Hunter (Adam Bucci), “The 10 Year
Plan” shows some potential. But Calciano takes the easy, obvious way out, creating
an unsurprising subplot about Brody’s jealousy that feels as tedious as the
foregone conclusion. Hint: it involves one character hoping to stop the other
in enough time to tell him how he really feels. It is as artificial as
everything else in this film—from the unfunny comic support from Myles’ chatty
gal pal (Teri Reeves) to the groan-inducing
double entendres. Moreover, the acting throughout “The 10 Year Plan” is painfully wooden, and the chemistry
between the leads is non-existent.
Calciano’s film isn’t sharp enough to be spoofing the
conventions it employs. And he has now made his third lousy rom-com in a row
(after “Is It Just Me?” and “e-Cupid”). One can only hope that if he ever returns
to the queer fest circuit, he will make a film worthy of inclusion.
And one final sour note: Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves would probably
call the grammar police on the unhyphenated title.