Lesbian Netflix (Non)Recommendation: Love on the Side

Love on the Side


Year: 2005
Runtime: 102 minutes of pure shame
My Totally Official Rating: 2 out of 5 lesbian stars

Netflix description: Burned-out waitress Eve Stuckley (Marla Sokoloff) has had her eye on town fox Jeff Sweeney (Barry Watson) for years — not that he’d notice. So when the beautiful Linda Avery (Monika Schnarre) blows into town, Eve figures her chances are nil. What she doesn’t count on, however, is that — although her brother Chuck (Jonathan Cherry) and Jeff are in a fierce battle for Linda’s heart — Linda only has eyes for Eve.

Does it follow any stereotypical lesbian tropes or storylines?

The “Dude She’s Too Hot to be a Lesbian” trope:  Love on the Side spins this as a “she’s too hot to be gay” story with the two main male characters pursuing the lesbian character despite her rebuffing their advances.  The situation of Linda’s sexuality is played for laughs throughout the film as two men fight over her attention completely oblivious to all the signs that point to her gayness.

Even the Girls Want Her:  Linda is the hot new lady in town.  From the moment she walks in the diner, everyone’s eyes are on her.  Throughout the film, a minor character is seen in the background of most scenes with her aloof boyfriend as she tries to coax him into giving her attention.  When she sees Linda is into girls, she’s on the prowl.  Without any qualms, she forgets her boyfriend and pursues Linda.  (All as a background character mind you that we never really learn anything about.)  I think background girl’s boyfriend ended up being gay in the end which was totally random.

We’re Totes Friends Trope: Despite Eve’s disinterest in ladies, Linda continues to pursue her and becomes probably the best friend anyone could ever ask for.  Eve doesn’t deserve this.  (We’ll get into that later.)  At the end of the day, Linda ends up with random background girl like it was no big that she and Eve didn’t end up together.  Rebound much?  That’s not really a happy ending.  It might just be me, but I’m not about coaching a chick I’m into about how to get the guy she’s interested in after she totally used me and my emotions.  No thanks.

How does it stand out from the rest? (For Better or Worse)

Linda was a totally wonderful and supportive person to Eve throughout the entire movie even when she knew she was being used.  We are made to believe that Eve is struggling with her feelings for Linda when in all actuality Eve just ends up using her.  Eve’s greatest asset is supposed to be her personality and how wonderfully caring and sweet she is to everyone.  But the way she uses Linda to pursue Jeff is gross.  It’s so out of character.  The entire situation is played for laughs at the expense of Linda’s real emotions for Eve.

Eve’s interest in Jeff should leave any self-respecting girl feeling icky.  It’s depressing that Eve held a torch for this worthless dude who ignored her for the entirety of her life and that she ends up with him in the end.  And this is all only after Linda gives Jeff a firm talking to about how he’s stupid and Eve deserves way better than him.  I’d like to just list out some of the moments that made me hate this guy even more:

  • The entire montage of Jeff “seeing” Eve’s talents and who she really was is just…GRAHHHHH.  You’ve known this girl your entire life and you’ve never taken an interest in anything she’s done despite treating her like a little sister?  You’re suddenly in love?  I get that he’s being less superficial but it all feels very contrived.
  • His feeling of ownership over Linda.  He’s the hottest guy so he should obviously have the hottest girl.  He was so slimy (as was Eve’s brother) that I felt like such a man-hating lesbian at the end of all this.  No movie should ever do that.  I think dudes are awesome.  Eve’s uncle was the one exception to this and he totally died.
  • Jeff’s talk with the old guy in town who told him that he knew he loved his wife because she didn’t make him “feel like a jackass” all the time.  The whole “you make me a better man” bit that he in turn gave to Eve made me want to barf all over my computer.  Jeff needed a talking to from Jenny Schecter here.  “It’s not my job to make you a better man.”  Suck it, Jeff.
  • And the best part was Jeff taking down all the pictures of supermodels out of his office at work.  (Also…wtf.  Who hangs up Sport Illustrated posters at their work?)   God forbid that he be in love with Eve because she’s also physically beautiful – which she is by the way.  (It’s Marla Sokoloff, people.  Babysitter’s Club anyone?)  Everyone referred to Eve as overweight in this film and listed that as major point in why she was unattractive to the rest of the community.  The only person who never made mention of this was Linda.  But of course Linda is gay and therefore has experienced what it’s like to be judged blah blah blah.  SHE KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE.  Clearly.  And in line with that, what planet do these people live on?  Eve is overweight?

Eve in all her "overweight" glory.

And on a final note: Eve dressed horribly and her weight played an enormous role in the film.  I can’t tell you how infuriating it was to see a gorgeous woman dressed in hideous frumpy clothing.  I spent most of the movie more pissed off about the treatment of Eve as a woman than of Linda as a lesbian.  I think the overall message was to say that it’s what’s on the inside that counts – but really it all just came across as offensive.

Wow. This really turned into an enormous rant about this movie.

Should you watch it?

This gets a definite shrug.  If you’re like me and you’re hungry for any sort of visibility, sure.  This movie has some terrible sexism in it and the ending is really, really annoying.  But you know, the lesbian isn’t evil and she doesn’t die in the end so that’s a plus.  And in some ways, she does get a happy ending.  Final verdict?  If you’re into torturing yourself and are okay with being pissed off at the takeaway message, you should totally go for it.  (Sorry, that was pretty non-committal but I’m hoping it’ll generate some discussion here.  I want to know what you guys think!)

Oh yeah, the trailer.  If you don’t end up watching this (and I don’t blame you if you don’t), you should watch the trailer to see the crap ass clothing they put on this girl.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Lesbian Netflix (Non)Recommendation: Love on the Side

  1. THIS is why I need this column… I had this film on my “instant que” (to watch later), not sure whether it’s worth it or not. From your description, I’ll say NOT. As a consumer of gay/lesbian film, I’ve seen some clunkers, but this one just feels like it’s not worth the time.

    You know, *I* could write about a few of the films I’ve seen in this genre if you’re interested… shoot me an e-mail sometime! 😉

    • Meghann

      Oooh – we should compare notes! I’ve just seen so many bad/good films I finally decided it was a good idea to start sharing them. I’d love to hear about the movies you’ve been watchin’!

  2. Ira (or irina)

    Hi Megs,

    Thank you for reminding me about this film (actually I’ve seen it already).. it was made what?.. in 2004 or something?.. so I forgot all about it… I’ll watch it again if only to see Jennifer Tilly (she’s totally worth it… if no one/nothing else is)… haha 😉

    Btw, have you read Adriana’s & Berta’s interviews on AE?.. one of my questions was chosen for Berta! (I post there as bazuka74), I’m so honoured that Berta answered my question, I never had time to submit my questions for Adriana’s interview though :(… sorry for talking about totally different subject here but you are a fellow Crisabelian just like myself so I thought you wouldn’t mind me posting it here… 😉

    Thank you again Megs, keep in touch & ttyl love.

    Kindest regards, Ira.

    • Pegske

      Don’t worry about changing the subject(Crisabel is allways an allowed topic,lol) and i get your excitement. One of my Questions was also answered by Adriana which gave me an almost childish joy 🙂

      greetz Peg

    • Meghann

      Nice!! I saw her interview today – she’s just lovely. I’m so happy for both you and Peg!

      And yeah, definitely don’t mind you chatting about it. You can comment however you like! And yes, Crisabel is always a topic of interest for me. Clearly. 😛

  3. Val Foster

    Unfortunately, I watched this movie as well. I had never heard of it (and I consider myself a lesbian film connoisseur as I have an extensive DVD collection). I recently joined Netflix and saw it under the LGBT movie list. Since I had never heard of it, I was, like, “ooh, let’s check this out.” That was 102 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

  4. Naomi

    I have lost so many hours of my life to badly written, badly acted lesbian films, so thank you for sparing me this one. But surely nothing can be as bad as Girl Play! That film left me with nothing but a feeling of bitter disappointment. I couldn’t even bring myself to sit through the sex scene.

  5. Cammy

    Thanks for the recommendation. I enjoyed Elena Undone, and my tear ducts even managed to make an appearance. Thanks for reminding me that love is still around, even if it’s through a shitty lesbian movie with pretty bad acting and a white kid with an Afro.

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