The most interesting thing about “Whipped” is that it was originally rated NC-17, not for sex or nudity, but for language.
Now, understand: You don’t get an NC-17 rating just because you say the F-word a lot. It comes up a lot in this movie, but not as much as in “The Original Kings of Comedy” or “South Park.” The conversation of the three Manhattan bachelors and their married friend around whom the film centers is so crude, foul, graphic and sexually distasteful that it actually inspired the ratings board to give it the most restrictive rating. Producer/writer/director Peter M. Cohen took some of the dialogue out to get the R rating, but one wonders what could possibly have been worse than what was allowed to pass through.
The second most interesting thing about this movie is that it so closely resembles last year’s “Body Shots” that I accidentally typed “Body Shots” instead of “Whipped” when I started this review.
You didn’t see “Body Shots,” but if you had, you’d know that it was about sex in the ’90s, was remarkably graphic and crude, and often had its characters speak directly to the camera to tell us what their attitudes were so that the screenwriter wouldn’t have to waste time with meaningful dialogue and action to establish those things. “Whipped” shares all these traits, none of which are inherently bad, but which make both “Whipped” and “Body Shots” really awful.
In “Whipped,” Wall Street guy Brad (Brian Van Holt), poet/layabout Zeke (Zorie Barber) and sensitive loner Jonathan (Jonathan Abrahams) meet each Sunday morning at a diner to tell of their sexual conquests over the weekend. (If they’re best friends, how come they never go to the clubs together?) None of them want to be tied down; in fact, they pity and revile their former friend Eric (Judah Domke), who is now married (and, of course, miserable).
Brad is the cocky one; Zeke is the cocky-but-smart one; Jonathan is the chicken who stays home and masturbates a lot and whom people think is gay. (And it’s no wonder, since he lives on Christopher Street.) Of the three, Abrahams as Jonathan is the best character, and the best actor — but that’s not saying much, with this group of one-note losers.
Sex is the important thing with these guys, until each of them meets a woman with whom they actually seem to connect and whom they want to spend more time with. Unfortunately, it’s the same woman, Mia (Amanda Peet).
Mia dates all three men, and convinces each of them that he’s the one she REALLY likes. The point, ultimately, is that guys are jerks and users and deserve to be humiliated and receive their comeuppance. Well, whoop-de-crap, movie. We already knew that, and “Whipped” offers no new insight or humor on the matter.
The film benefits from a good soundtrack (heavy on the G. Love and Special Sauce) and sexual slang that is occasionally amusing. (The guys speak it non-stop; some of it’s bound to be funny.) Amanda Peet has some spark, but is not permitted to show it in this thankless role of temptress/she-devil. When the movie is over and nothing has actually happened, nor any genuine laughs produced, you’re liable to feel like you’ve been whipped, too.
D (; )