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A Good Old Fashioned Orgy review

September 1, 2011  |  4:01pm
<i>A Good Old Fashioned Orgy</i> review

Ever done the “butterfly?” Had a hankering lately for the “reverse spoon?” Or have your tastes moved from the familiar old standards to what has been colorfully referred to as the “deep dish?” Of course, these questions have nothing to do with pizza. But a good stuffed crust pie is probably more sexy and certainly more satisfying than anything on display in A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.

Jason Sudeikis plays Eric, a carefree thirty-something, who spends his holidays and spare time at his family’s beach home. His mother and father have long since vacated the premises, leaving it fully stocked and available as the ultimate party shack. And Eric and his aimless friends have made the most of it, spending long weekends deep in drunken debauchery. We initially meet the gang at an over-the-top “white trash” party. The tasteless theme offers up a signature bean dip from an inviting toilet. Even Eric admits that the dip and its dish are a little too much.

All good things must end, and when Eric’s playboy father (played by Don Johnson) decides to sell the old homestead, plans are made for a major final blowout. If you haven’t already figured it out, the controversial theme selected for the ending affair is a good old-fashioned orgy.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is all title and no adventure. It’s a clumsy attempt to combine The Big Chill and The Hangover. Just when you think things might get edgy, the script infuses tense moments with sweet sentiment. Every character is constantly articulating and analyzing their feelings and decisions. It gets tedious and utterly pretentious. Like the flashy but one note title, the characters tell us way too much and end up showing off very little.

Jason Sudeikis is quickly becoming the most over-exposed comic actor working today. This year, we already saw him in Hall Pass and Horrible Bosses, both of which were mediocre offerings. As Eric in Orgy he delivers his affable comic sensibility, but the material, which seems as though it was improvised, produces inconsistent laughs with an equal amount of wince-inducing moments. Even compared to Sudeikis’ other 2011 flicks, this movie is a weak pedestrian outing, a meandering film that fails to understand and credibly capitalize on its titillating title.

The whole “orgy” concept for a comedy has great potential. And here it works best when things get crude. In one scene Eric and his best friend McCrudden (Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’s Tyler Labine) decide to visit a swingers’ club in order to prepare for their orgy party. They get some sage advice from a swinger veteran who’s played with much needed gusto by David Koechner (see Anchorman). The scene is funny, borrowing more than a little from the Farrelly Brothers. But right when it looks like the narrative is going to turn dark and edgy, the script goes all ooey gooey. Such sweetness seems out of place in a movie with orgy in the title.

The filmmaking team of Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck responsible for this drab movie clearly failed to do their homework on this one. And what fun that work could have been. What a lame orgy film they ended up making.

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