24 August 2008
Well, this was a surprise. I was expecting a titillating story of young people and their ultra-standard sex lives. In other words, a movie I would not at all have picked up had Eliza Dushku not been in it.
Points again for Eliza, because this was an interesting meditation on what happens when the sex lives of pretty young people gets a bit on the boring side. And nothing that happens is really all that standard. Clearly, the writer has a bit of real-time experience with this because the dialogue and the situations felt genuine.
The movie is basically about two young couples. One is suffering from basic sexual boredom. Eliza says at one point, "I don't want us to become masturbators." In the other couple, the girl can't come with Macaulay Culkin, so they're looking for some adventure, too. Both couples end up trying out group sex therapy, which is kind of extreme, but both have their reasons -- excitement, adventure, something different.
But what will the ramifications be? Is it ever just sex? Can couples share and still be happy? What does it mean to share? What does it mean to consider sharing in the first place? All these questions come up, and the paths the couples and the movie take are not quite as expected. It was also good to see young couples going through these things rather than just boring old ones.
I really enjoyed it. I thought it was very smart, quite funny, and it finally allowed me to see Macaulay Culkin as possibly a good adult actor. Who knew?
I still can't believe they went there. What has happened in Bobcat's life that brings him to this space? To writing and directing a film about a girl with a very weird sexual secret involving, well, going down on a pet dog? And how on Earth did the whole thing turn out to be so not awful?
It wasn't awesome, but it was definitely successful on certain levels. The movie is well-written, funny, and clever. The characters are likable and easy to relate to, and the drama is affecting, even after a shaky start involving some stereotypically annoying parents and other family members. The notion of letting a partner in on your deepest, darkest secrets is interesting. Amy lets us know she once blew her dog in a moment of teenage experimentation and craziness. She wants so badly to tell her fiance, just to have it out there, so that no secrets lay between them.
Of course, I'm thinking not everything needs to be disclosed and that revealing this is going to be a massive error. It is, and the relationship struggles.
So, what does it mean to be "completely honest" with a partner? I'm of the opinion that honesty is good, but full disclosure? Utterly unnecessary, especially concerning the things you did before you and your partner were together. If you're asked, sure, you can tell. If you feel like discussing, why not? Because I also think judgement is a bad thing, so if your partner can't handle the fact that you stripped for a football team when you were 16 or something like that, then that's their issue. Still, bestiality is something again and I agreed with the boyfriend that it was hard to look past. Full disclosure? You'd have to be mad, right?
But Amy needs to reveal, and her life falls apart. So, are we the product of our past choices? And what does it really mean to keep secrets? The movie does well to explore those themes, and while it was amusing and heartfelt, it was ultimately a bit easy as far as the wrap-up went. Amy decides not to disclose to her next partner and life goes on. But in order to not tell, she ends up lying, and there's a whole new kettle of worms right there.