Food of Love

If this movie signifies the food of love, then the aforementioned food must be stale and moldy. Food of Love is based on David Leavitt's novel The Page Turner, and is nothing but a softcore porno translated to the large screen. However, there are some changes to the typical formula. Instead of couplings involving men and women or just women, Food of Love has only men. Now, take away about half the number of sex scenes in the typical softcore, and tone down the nudity and graphic detail, and the leftover is just a bad story, which is what is here. The movie is about Paul's (Kevin Bishop, The Big Finish, Muppet Treasure Island) sexual awakening after high school, and some other random junk. In the fall, Paul will attend Juilliard, where he dreams of becoming a concert pianist like his idol Richard Kennington (Paul Rhys, From Hell, Love Lies Bleeding).

In a bit of kismet, Kennington is in town for a concert, and Paul happens to be his page turner. After the concert, Richard comes on to Paul, as does Ricahrd's manager Joseph (Allan Corduner, Moonlight Mile, Me Without You). Flash forward a couple months and Paul and his mother Pamela (Juliet Stevenson, The Search for John Gissing, Christmas Carol: The Movie) and his newly separated mother are vacationing in Spain when they happen to meet Richard. Paul and Richard get their freak on, and Pamela has no idea. It is Paul's first homosexual experience (and quite possibly his first experience at all), and he is initially nervous, but soon eagerly awaits any free time with Richard. However, it soon becomes apparent to Richard that Paul is obsessed with Richard the pianist, not Richard the person.

And the Paul character is the most problematic. Aside from Stevenson, whose main role is to act high strung and wear pink, Paul is the main element that is annoying. To a certain degree, writer/director Ventura Pons (Anita Takes a Chance, Morir) portrays him as clueless. He has no idea what he is going into, he is inexperienced, and he seems to be a dumbass. The hard part is figuring out how much of Bishop's performance is acting, and how much is Bishop. Bishop speaks in monotone, and carefully pronounces every single syllable, giving the impression that he is reading the script. He never comes off as convincing, and seems dull even when he is yelling. Then, when Bishop doesn't come off as half asleep, he comes off as a jerk, especially towards his mother. The level of teen angst and rebellion present really has no justification.

What exactly is this movie about? Pons never makes it clear. It isn't quite about Paul's sexual awakening. It isn't really about his relationship between with Richard. It then throws in a whole bunch of plot about Pamela and how she is trying to cope with her husband's infidelity. Food of Love lazily moves between these stories, and there is never a complete character portrait of Paul. The worst part is how the movie keeps looking like it is going to end, then it goes on. At a good stopping point, it jumps half a year into the future. Then, it becomes a full-blown public service announcement for a couple minutes, before doing back to being boring.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 52 minutes, Not Rated but contains nudity, sensuality, and language, an easy R, but since it's all male, possibly an NC-17 (hypocrites!).

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