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Jason Sudeikis, Michelle Borth adn Tyler Labine in "A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy."

Samuel Goldwyn Films,

A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED ORGY

1/2 out of four stars

Rating: R for pervasive sexual content, graphic nudity and language.

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An 'Orgy' of tedium

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT
  • Star Tribune
  • September 2, 2011 - 9:23 AM

You don't review a movie like "A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy." You autopsy it. There's a less polite term for orgy (it begins with "cluster"), and that's really the best description of this boorish, smirking, barrel-scraping smut opus.

The main interest is deciding whether the comedy or the sex is more desultory. The most perverse aspect of this warmed-over slice of "American Pie" is its almost supernatural lack of laughs. Science probably can't prove that a film can kill brain cells, but watching this one will fill you with new empathy for the lobotomized.

Briefly, then: Jason Sudeikis nominally plays Eric, a 30-ish layabout who hosts rowdy parties for his pals at his father's huge summer home in the Hamptons. He's fond of gonzo themes like a "White Trash Bash" where guacamole is served from a toilet bowl. When his dad (Don Johnson) announces he's selling the place, Eric decides to go out with a bang. Literally.

Just in case you can't decipher the title, Eric's final party will bring together his eight best high school friends for a night of group groping. (Film buffs may recall that the sex creeps of "Eyes Wide Shut" also staged their bacchanal in a Hamptons hideaway. Perhaps there's something in the water.)

One by one, Eric's friends find unpersuasive reasons to sign on. One is rebounding from a breakup, another thinks it will give her a needed jolt of body confidence, a timid guy double-dog dares himself to run wild, one lusty lady just digs the idea.

There's a research trip to a swingers' party by Eric and his portly sidekick McCrudden (Tyler Labine, subbing for Jack Black or Zack Galifianakis, who were wisely unavailable). Here acres of hairy, leathery, geriatric flesh are displayed for puerile gross-outs.

On the sidelines, but maybe about to join the sexcapades, are a coquettish Realtor (Leslie Bibb) who's selling the house, and newlyweds (Will Forte and Lucy Punch) considered boring and settled by the others.

Does this sound like fun fluff? In practice it is lazy, self-indulgent and tedious, unless you consider an obese man in a leopard thong comic gold. Sudeikis, miscast as a chipper ladies' man, delivers his dialogue with an arch pseudo-irony that is a tone-deaf substitute for wit. When a flyby cameo by the onetime star of "Miami Vice" is a film's performing high point, you know you're in trouble.

The film's weakest link, however, is the writing. We can laugh at the hormonal high jinks of teenagers, but when characters in their 30s act out in similar ways, the vibe is inescapably icky. You may end up wanting to take a shower. It could help keep you awake.

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