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Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington Wilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

 

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (One Star)

U.S.: Alex Gregory & Peter Huyck, 2011

I don’t want to come across like a prude, but the new Jason Sudeikis sex comedy A Good Old fashioned Orgy is pretty much a bad, newfangled mess.

Try as they might, writer-directors Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck can’t make this cinematic crap-ball float in the toilet bowl, even though they‘ve gotten together a fairly funny or attractive cast, including Sudeikis as Eric, the wing man or orgy master, Lake Bell, Tyler Labine, Michelle Borth, Nick Kroll, Lindsay Sloane, Martin Starr and Angela Sarafyan as the eight main orgiasts, and Lucy Punch, Will Forte and Leslie Bibb among the onlookers, with Bibb the movie’s main romantic interest for Eric. Even though they try to break a few barriers by showing partial nudity, supposedly on screen sex, (supposedly) on screen swing clubs, little old ladies with dildos (Lin Shaye) and (supposedly) on-screen orgies, it still sinks and stinks, unstoppably.

For some of course A Good Old Fashioned Orgy will be offensively crude and lewd; for others it’ll just be offensively unfunny. It’s a bunch of junk, an incredibly dumb, incredibly annoying movie that‘s close to a total waste of time. (Close? I’m too kind.) Even though Gregory and Huyck were longtime gagmeisters for David Letterman and The Larry Sanders Show and King of the Hill and others, they seem to have forgotten how to tell a joke, or maybe how not to tell the same joke over and over. Their characters, supposedly college-educated yuppies in their late 20s or early 30s, talk about almost nothing but sex, seem to be interested in almost nothing but sex. (That’s not necessarily unrealistic, but it’s monotonous.) “What’s up with all the dildos?” Bibb‘s Kelly asks when she sees the group waving around their sex toys at a bar, and that might serve as the movie’s alternate title.

Sudeikis, smirking away plays the Bradley Cooper character, Eric, the guy who’s been holding big wild parties at his father’s place in the Hamptons for years, bacchanals which always include the core group up above — including the noisy hoe-down we see at the beginning, the White Trash Bash which features lawnmower races, farmer garb and, on the hors d’oeuvres table, a bean dip bowl in the shape of a toilet. (That’s about the level of the humor throughout, and but this is also the key scene where the “hero” and “heroine,” Sudeikis and Bibb, meet and get in their first heavy flirting.)

But all things must pass, and that includes noisy pool parties and eventually, bad movies. Faced with the imminent sale of the summer place by his dad (Don Johnson, no less), Eric decides that their last really special party will be a private get-together of the core group, his eight best friends, and they’ll have a good old fashioned orgy — something the gang has never experienced because they missed the ‘60s and ‘70s and then got scared off during the AIDS era (which is still going on, of course). The theme of the orgy will be The Kama Sutra — whose erotic illustrations will provide the game plan. The result is mechanically written, sloppily directed, indifferently acted, and fullof lousy photography that you can barely see in the dark, and don’t want to see when it’s light.

 

Amazingly all eight of them finally agree: nervous therapist Alison (Bell), uptight lawyer Adam (Kroll), Sue (Michelle Forth) who has a big crush on Eric, self-conscious Laura (Lindsay Sloane), frustrated rocker Duquez (Martin Starr) and his lady Willow (Angela Sarafyan) and the guy who’s most into the orgy, Eric’s’ pudgy, heavy-smirking near constant sidekick, Mike McCrudden (Tyler Labine).

There are also two more of Eric’s special buddies: newlyweds Glenn and Kate (Forte and Punch), who were politely not invited to the orgy, because they just got married, and they’re already parents — though they were hurt by the snub and want to come. (Glenn and Kate do show up, in the movie‘s most idiotic sight gag, wearing Native American garb and war bonnets because they misunderstood Eric’s admonition that, in honor of the Kama Sutra, everyone should dress as Indians.

I realize movies like this are not exactly supposed to be plausible. But, if the whole situation reminded me of a soft-core porno variation on Friends, it also reminded me of what I always found unlikely about Friends in the beginning: the early non-sexual or non-romantic attachments among the show‘s big six. Why have these eight stayed together all those years, when there’s only two real couples among them? Bell’s Alison does have a pill of a boyfriend named Marco (Rhys Corio) but he gets dumped before the orgy. And Glenn and Kate, the married couple who feel left out, struck me as a crock — even though Forte and Punch are among the movie’s funnier actors.

And then there’s Labine as Mike, a pudgy buttinsky who wears Norwegian booster t-shirts and is Eric’s near-constant sidekick. It’s a Zach Galifianakis type of role, and Labine Jack Blacks it up. The movie always have him first to strip, once down to a leopard skin thong, which strikes me as poor strategy — and it also whips up an embarrassed little kiss between Eric and Mike that probably only Blake Edwards could have pulled off.

Most of all though, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is one orgy that makes you feel bad the morning after, or even just walking out of the theatre, even if the characters don’t. It has more dildos than it has jokes that work — and the movie’s attempts at Judd Apatow-style warmth at the end belong in a TV resort commercial. “Orgy” not only didn’t make me laugh, it’s probably put me off orgies forever, and bean dip for at least a day or two. Not to mention Norwegian t-shirts. By the way, sorry my jokes didn’t work. The movie is so bad, it actually seems to destroy your sense of humor too.

One Response to “Wilmington on Movies: A Good Old Fashioned Orgy”

  1. Nck says:

    REAALY? Is THIS the BEST the USA can do for its citizens.? A worthless POS main character..a bunch of WORTHLESS SLUTS………….? REALLY? I kept hoping a mass murderer, having some free time from school shootings would eliminate these annoying, worthless excuses for human beings………..

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“The sad and painful truth is that pretty much everyone in this town knew who Harvey was. I have had long talks with my most liberal friends. Did we know he was a rapist? We didn’t. But did we know that for decades he has been offering actresses big careers in exchange for sexual favors? Yes, we did — and make no mistake, that is its own kind of rape. And did we all — or did any of us — refuse to do business with him on moral grounds? No. We ALL STAYED IN BUSINESS WITH HIM. I have never done business with Harvey but I can tell you with certainty that I would have — because I was recently approached by a film festival he sponsors. They asked me to submit my short film for their consideration and I did it without thinking twice. I am a dyed-in-the-wool feminist and a vocal one at that. So why didn’t I think twice? Because this entire town is built on the ugly principals that Harvey takes to an horrific extreme. If I didn’t work with people whose behavior I find reprehensible, I wouldn’t have a career.”
~ Showrunner Krista Vernoff

From AMPAS president John Bailey:

Dear Fellow Academy Members,

Danish director Carl Dreyer’s 1928 film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is not only one of the visual landmarks of the silent era, but is a deeply disturbing portrait of a young woman’s persecution in the face of the male judges and priests of the ruling order. The actress Maria Falconetti gave one of the most profoundly affecting performances in the history of cinema as the Maid of Orleans.

Since the decision of the Academy’s Board of Governors on Saturday October 14 to expel producer Harvey Weinstein from its membership, I have been haunted not only by the recurring image of Falconetti and the sad arc of her career (dying in Argentina in 1946, reputedly from a crash diet) but of Joan’s refusal to submit to an auto de fe recantation of her beliefs.

Recent public testimonies by some of filmdom’s most recognized women regarding sexual intimidation, predation, and physical force is, clearly, a turning point in the film industry—and hopefully in our country, where what happens in the world of movies becomes a marker of societal Zeitgeist. Their decision to stand up against a powerful, abusive male not only parallels the cinema courage of Falconetti’s Joan but gives all women courage to speak up.

After Saturday’s Board of Governors meeting, the Academy issued a passionately worded statement, expressing not only our concern about harassment in the film industry, but our intention to be a strong voice in changing the culture of sexual exploitation in the movie business, already common well before the founding of the Academy 90 years ago. It is up to all of us Academy members to more clearly define for ourselves the parameters of proper conduct, of sexual equality, and respect for our fellow artists throughout our industry. The Academy cannot, and will not, be an inquisitorial court, but we can be part of a larger initiative to define standards of behavior, and to support the vulnerable women and men who may be at personal and career risk because of violations of ethical standards by their peers.

Yours,
John