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.
When Brody 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.