Movie Review: A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

by Alan Rapp on September 2, 2011

in Print Reviews

Some movies get rushed through production and hit theaters mere weeks after the final frame of film is shot. Others, for a variety of reasons, go through multiple edits and end up sitting on the shelf for years. A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (which was filmed back in the Spring of 2008) is the latter.

The story centers around Eric (Jason Sudeikis) and his friends (Tyler LabineMichelle Borth, Lake Bell, Lindsay Sloane, Nick Kroll, Angela Sarafyan, Martin Starr) who have thrown legendary parties at his family’s summer home for years. When his father (Don Johnson) announces his plan to sell the house the group tries to figure out how best to through their final end of summer bash. Their solution? An orgy!

good-old-fashioned-orgy-pic2The film is a mix of old friends saying goodbye to a tradition and a group of unsure thirty-somethings trying to recapture a youthful sexual spirit with a night of debauchery. The relationships work well, and we actually feel like these people would stay friends over the years. As to whether they’d all sleep together…

The film’s biggest hurdle is positioning each character to take part in something they’d normally never consider. The horndogs of the group (Borth and Labine) quickly sign-up, but the film does a fair bit of juggling (some of it surprisingly successful) in getting the more reluctant members onboard. There are moments, both comedic and dramatic, which lead the various members of the group to agree to take part in the Labor Day Weekend festivities.

Will Forte and Lucy Punch also have small roles as former members of the group who are getting married and, much to their displeasure, aren’t involved in the group’s orgy plans. Their presence is worth noting as it delivers the film’s funniest joke – even if it is stolen from Super Troopers (and then unnecessarily explained).

good-old-fashioned-orgy-pic3Sadly the film also saddles the main character (Sudeikis) with a superfluous love interest (Leslie Bibb). I like Bibb, and she’s used well enough here, but her entire storyline is nothing more than a potential spoiler that only detracts attention from (the much better handled) main storyline about the friends and their last big bash. The film’s strength is the camaraderie and likable nature of the characters’ interactions with each other. Taking large sections of the movie in a different directions, especially that of a romantic comedy, doesn’t serve any real purpose.

Although I’m sure some with attack the film for its subject and raunch, its actually far more suggestive than dirty. It’s certainly not a family film, but aside from some language and a couple of sequences (not necessarily the orgy itself – which has a surprisingly small amount of nudity) it’s the most PG-13 look at orgy you’re likely to see. You could easily cut out a little language what (little) nudity the film contains, and sequence involving David Koechner, and the film could have easily squeaked in under a PG-13 rating (or what’s passing for it nowadays).

good-old-fashioned-orgy-pic1On the plus side, the film proves Sudeikis can carry a film without playing second fiddle to a bigger star. I’m just hoping he starts getting a little better scripts than the likes of this and Horrible Bosses. I’ve been a fan of Levine since his role as Sock in Reaper, and he does his best to steal most of the film’s best moments. Bell, who I’ve never been a fan of, isn’t quite as grating as usual as her wooden “acting” is tapped to play the film’s blandest character. The rest of a cast fit-in well but don’t have any real stand-out moments.

For a film with more than its share of ups and downs there are plenty of laughs as well as some nods to films such as Animal House and The Big Chill (at least that’s all I could think of during the kitchen interlude). There are also several stretches where the script struggles to deliver chuckles, let alone laughs.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is a sex romp with a heart that works about half of the time. With a little editing the movie could easily play late at night on Comedy Central or any number of cable movie channels. And, honestly, that’s where it probably belongs.

A stalwart fan of under-appreciated cinematic gems such as Condorman, Alan Rapp has harangued, belittled, and argued with just about every Scene-Stealers contributor ever. More of his insight, comic nerdiness, and righteous fury can be found at dadsbigplan, RazorFine Review, and ‘Xplosion of Awesome, and the Four Color Freak-Out podcast.

Facebook Twitter Google+ 

Leave a Comment

 

Previous post:

Next post: