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A Good Old Fashioned Orgy


[Samuel Goldwyn Films; 2011]

Director: Alex Gregory & Peter Huyck

Runtime: 95 min



Written by , September 1, 2011 at 9:14 am 



R-rated comedies are rife with manchild coming-of-age tales full of crude humor and heart. TV writers Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck try their hand at this popular subgenre with their directorial debut A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, which features a promising ensemble that includes: Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb, Lake Bell, Michelle Borth, Nick Kroll, Tyler Labine, Angela Sarafyan, Lindsay Sloane, Martin Starr, Lucy Punch and Will Forte. But despite their cheeky concept and charismatic cast, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy never quite manages to rise to the occasion.

Jason Sudeikis stars as Eric, a thirty-something New Yorker with an office job he only tolerates until he can run off to his father’s Hamptons beach house each weekend along with his old high school buddies. There they throw wild theme parties like “The White Trash Bash,” where they fervently reject maturity and the responsibilities therein. (Well – except for their soon-to-be wed buddies Glenn and Kate (the criminally underused Will Forte and Lucy Punch), whose newborn baby bars them from much of the group’s wild antics.) But their eternal Indian Summer fun is threatened when Eric’s dad (Don Johnson in cameo mode) decides to sell the house. So Eric and his friends attempt to thwart the efforts of Leslie Bibb’s cute realtor, Kelly, while planning a final summer bash they’ll never forget: an orgy featuring only each other.

While bedding down with your oldest friends might seem mad to most modern mates, this band of buds are easily tempted. Each one from the self-doubting would-be rock star (a surprisingly sexy Martin Starr) to the neurotic suit (Nick Kroll) to the pretentious psychiatrist (Lake Bell) to the formerly fat school teacher (Lindsay Sloane) ultimately decides that this orgy will be the quick-fix to their personal issues. But as Labor Day approaches, Eric’s burgeoning romance with the enchanting Kelly gives him second thoughts. Will he or won’t he lead his wolf pack into the world of group sex?

Sadly, while the premise is full of promise, Sudeikis is no leading man. He lacks the kind of charisma and confidence needed to shoulder the whisper-thin plot, overburdened as it is with too many characters and half-formed subplots. The rest of the cast has moments, but they never really come together to form a believable bond, leaving the emotional storylines to feel weak and underserved. Likewise, the jokes are tired and limp, relying too often on supposedly shocking sexual images. (Full frontal old dude! Dildos at a bar! Fat guy in a thong! Hilarious!) And herein lies something truly irksome about A Good Old Fashioned Orgy. Despite the fact that it has the word “orgy” in the title, this comedy has a decidedly  prudish bent, presenting a wide range of sexual behaviors and fetishes then instantly judging them with dismissive or disgusted asides. This inhibited viewpoint coupled with such lame comedy conventions (like moderately attractive to homely men easily hooking up with insanely fit and gorgeous women) makes for a deeply predictable comedy. There’s nothing new, fresh or outrageous here, and so much of the humor falls flat. It’s not good; it’s just old-fashioned.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy opens limited on September 2nd, 2011.


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