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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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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook