Eric D. Snider

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

Movie Review

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: B-

Released: September 2, 2011

 

Directed by:

Cast:

R-rated comedies have grossed a combined $760 million this summer, outranking even the superhero movies in the contest for American moviegoers' affections. So it's fitting to end the summer with one last raunch-com, especially one whose plot revolves around trying to celebrate Labor Day with a bang. Spoiler alert: the title is "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy."

A fine title it is, too -- probably more clever than the movie, which is funny but unambitious, deserves. Written and directed by Emmy-nominated TV writers Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, it is precisely a one-idea film: a group of eight Manhattan thirtysomethings decide to make their last bash of the summer a sex party. The details of who these people are and how the story gets to that point are barely sketched in. The writers' first screenplay outline probably just said, "Something, something, something, then they have an orgy."

But! It is funny, in that cheerfully crude, male-hormone-influenced way that's been all the rage these last few months. Jason Sudeikis stars as Eric, a fun-loving man-child who commandeers his father's beach house every summer weekend so he and his buddies can throw parties. (Sudeikis, who was in "Horrible Bosses" in July and "Hall Pass" in February, is fast becoming a seasoned pro at this.) When the old man announces he's selling the place, Eric and his main amigo, Mike (Tyler Labine), come up with the idea for a final blowout, then have to convince the other two guys and four girls to go along with it.

Predictably, most of them have objections. Just as predictably, they work through their obstacles without making the screenwriters break a sweat. Adam (Nick Kroll) is neurotic and uptight -- do you think he can relax?? Duquez (Martin Starr) is indecisive -- do you think he can commit to something?? Alison (Lake Bell) has been clinging to a bad boyfriend; Sue (Michelle Borth) had a high school crush on Eric; Willow (Angela Sarafyan), who is Duquez's girlfriend, wants to support him; Laura (Lindsay Sloane) … honestly, I don't remember what her deal was, and then there's also Kelly (Leslie Bibb), the realtor, who becomes Eric's love interest and potential reason to back out of the festivities. Whew. Nine is probably a good number for an orgy, but it's way too many characters for a movie this laid-back.

The immature recklessness of the over-educated 30-ish crowd is good for some laughs. The cast, game for anything, is energetic and likable; Sudeikis and Labine are downright gleeful, and it's infectious. The movie's one insight is that while the Baby Boomers had their swingin' sex lives and today's youth are sexual freaks, Generation X came of age under the new specter of AIDS and missed out on all that. Not much is done with that insight, but it's there. The film is mostly an excuse to make bawdy, snarky jokes and revel in the joy of being a juvenile adult -- not that there's anything wrong with that, comedywise. It's the movie equivalent of a one-night stand, that's all: fun, but nothing special.

Grade: B-

Rated R, pervasive harsh profanity and sexual dialogue, abundant nudity and sexuality

1 hr., 35 min.

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