With a comedy titled Bathroom Stalls & Parking Lots you might be expecting a gay version of the 1960’s British classic camp film Carry on Up the Khyber. Don’t. And if that is what you are looking for then, let’s face it, isn’t a gay version of Carry on Up the Khyber basically Carry on Up the Khyber?
Bathroom Stalls & Parking Lots is the story of 2 Brazilian friends on a night out in San Francisco. Leo (Thales Correa) is visiting Donny (Izzy Palazzini) from LA but is distracted by thoughts of a hook up he has back home that he is hoping to turn into something more. Mistakenly believing his hook up guy is in San Francisco he takes a willing Donny on a wild goose chase around the bars and clubs. When Leo realizes the truth then Donny takes charge of the night and it spirals down into a messy drug fueled tour of some cliched gay club scenarios. They flit from coked up bathroom fumbles to Grindr hook ups to crystal meth induced paranoid chill outs. The people they meet are the opportunists, the hangers on, and the needy.
To say the scenarios are cliched is not a criticism. There are a lot of hard grains of truth in the characters, situations and circumstances. It is a discomfitingly familiar bubble that is on the verge of bursting. The writing, also by Correa and Palazzini is harshly accurate. It puts a fluorescent light right up to the shiny skinned, bellied reality of the gay nightlife that does not make it onto Instagram.
The performances are what holds the scripts back from their potential. The arguments lacked heat and the epiphanies seemed inevitable rather than enlightening. Overall the acting does not manage to separate out heartfelt from whiny when it counts and it’s easier to wince than to laugh at some of the scenarios. Whilst strikingly recognizable it ends up feeling like watching bad behavior in a club when completely sober. It just isn’t all that entertaining.