Luring you in with a concept that has only really been seen in soaps and mainly carried out as heterosexual storylines, The Men Next Door makes you feel as though you’re about to see something a little different in terms of gay cinema. However once the film begins it’s rather disappointing to find that it’s just another mound of clichés, stereotypes and unfunny comedy.
After initially reading the plot synopsis I thought I’d be in for a rather funny and not too serious treat – after all seeing a film about a man falling in love with both a father and his son isn’t something you see every day. I was expecting a few laugh out loud moments with a sweet sentiment underneath. However, within the first 15 minutes of the film I saw two cocks and two or three sex scenes, once again reinforcing the fact that the majority of gay cinema is sold on sex.
Aside from this much of the ‘comedy’ within the film was not funny, tried a little too hard and on the whole was a little bit predictable. Also the sweet sentiment that ran throughout the film failed to make you go “awww”, instead it made you want to reach for the nearest sick bucket.
That said there are a few funny moments that did make me laugh, such as the awkward moment when the truth about the father and son comes is revealed. There’s also an entertaining situation in a getaway cabin later on the in film, which gets ruined by afamily therapy session that ensues. I did enjoy the way in which the more amusing parts of the film were told during conversations between Doug (Eric Dean) and his brother, and in all fairness you do wonder whether he will choose the father or son in the end. But as the film nears its conclusion, it gets extremely mundane and yawn inducing.
The way the film is shot is extremely low budget and it shows, which makes you feel as though you’re watching something a film student made on their lunch break. Adding to the pain I felt watching this is that the majority of the acting is wooden, beside Benjamin Lutz, who plays the son of the story, Colton, but even he annoys you after a while.
The character of Evelyn (Heidi Rhodes) does amuse at times, but she too becomes a little annoying as you realise she’s just another stereotype of how some gay people see their straight friends who have settled down with children.
Overall Verdict: This film could have done so much with the premise, but instead it’s badly written, badly shot and badly acted. Where it could have invested in good comedy and a more heartfelt sentiment, the makers settled for lacklustre comedy, stereotypes and a couple of helpings of sex in order to make people watch it.