By Jeff Walsh
"3-Day Weekend" puts the premise right in the title, a group of gay friends spend all of their holiday weekends in a beautiful cabin. But, since it's been the same guys telling the same stories for so long, they decide to mix it up, and every gay guy invites a single gay friend up for this weekend.
The movie tries to beat you to the punch quickly, though, mentioning this is like the set-up for "Love! Valour! Compassion!" before the audience thinks it. Of course, it's always dangerous to mention a good, similar movie, since that means you're setting a bar you better be able to clear.
Of course, we get a lot of archetypes invited. The computer geek someone works with. The centered, connected naked yoga teacher. But the biggest head turner is the last invited guest to arrive, the sex worker. Introductions aren't necessary with him, as three of the guys surprisingly call out his name at the same time when he walks in. It's almost like a sword-swallowing Breakfast Club.
So, we've got a nice mix of a couples, friends, guests. Add in hiking, alcohol, a hot tub, and the whole 'who'll hook up with who' factor, and it's a fun, enjoyable movie. But as is the case with an ensemble picture, you don't really have a ton of time to give any one story. The biggest narrative arc is between the main couple, who have been together the longest, and are in a 'don't ask, don't tell' open relationship, only one of them invited the sex worker he's been seeing on the side as his guest for the weekend. The moments between the yoga teacher and the nerd were sweet and nuturing, too.
The only other thing that was strange is the nudity. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against nudity. But, either do nudity or don't. If a bunch of gay friends are naked in a hot tub together, or some similar setting, and have a towel with them, you can't show their ass getting out of the hot tub and then, right before they turn to walk toward the camera, they hold the towel right in front of their penis. If you have actors who don't want to do frontal nudity, cut to a tighter shot, and have them walk toward the camera. The strategic towel, though, and only held in front of a penis, not wrapped around their waist, just makes you think 'actor who didn't want to do nudity.' For example, the box art for the DVD is based on a scene where three guys are suntanning naked, so the opening shot is of course, when they are all face-down. When they turn around to lay on their back, the shot changed from a full-body length shot to only show from their heads to their chests. Fine. Don't call attention to what nudity you can't show, and we'll all be happier.
So, I wouldn't say to avoid the movie, but at the same time, it is just sort of fun and light, but lacks the resonance of say, I don't know, Love! Valour! Compassion!, maybe? Like I said, that is the burden of name-checking good movies with a similar premise, you remind us where the bar has already been set.