The title sells sex but the film leaves you limp

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

on September 02, 2011 by Mark Olsen
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oldfashionedorgyreview.pngBefore losing their summer party house, a group of friends decide that instead of a mega-blowout they want to do something more intimate and special an orgy. Even with a cast packed with recognizable faces like Jason Sudeikis and Lake Bell there's something sadly unremarkable about A Good Old Fashioned Orgy. Unable to decide whether to pitch their story as chastely sweet or ridiculously raunchy, filmmakers Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck end up with something that just lays there flacid. The crowd onscreen may often outnumber the audience in theaters.

Considering Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck got their start as TV comedy writers, it's most surprising that their debut film would so desperately lack punch. Though Orgy doesn't seem to be in the improvisational style of something like TV's "The League" (one of whose stars, Nick Kroll, appears here) but the actors often flounder, unsure of what to do and desperate to make more of the material than is there. Yeah, everyone can have sex (all together, if they want), but not everyone can have chemistry, these guys least of all.

Gregory and Huyck don't even touch what would seem the essential core of the whole idea that orgies seems ludicrous today, where by the accepted cultural wisdom 40-years ago they might have seemed more socially and morally acceptable. The film's predicated on the belief society has grown gradually less open about sex since the days of Ice Storm-styled key parties, but it leaves the whys and hows completely unexamined. Even in this era of screen-grab notoriety, the performers make this, with one exception, a decidedly clothed bacchanalia.

The actual orgy is anti-climactic, neither sexy or squirm-inducingly awkward. (Frankly, the filmmakers would have done better to leave it to viewers' imaginations.) The big event plays in the same cartoonish key as the rest of the film, with an oddly sentimental, no-regrets afterglow of lessons learned and breakthroughs achieved.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgypremiered at Tribeca Film Fest last spring and, for better or worse, comes off as a quintessential Tribeca entry, carrying with it the distinctive tang Sundance rejection. Mimicking the (presumed) outcome of an real-life orgy, this film probably seemed like a good idea, but that feeling faded quickly and leaves its audience struggling towards the "finish" line.

Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Cast: Lake Bell, Leslie Bibb, Michelle Borth, Will Forte, Nick Kroll, Tyler Labine, Lucy Punch, Angela Sarafyan, Lindsay Sloane, Martin Starr, Jason Sudeikis
Directors/Screenwriters: Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck
Producer: James D. Stern
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R for pervasive strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language.
Running Time: 95 min.
Release Date: Sept 2 ltd.

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Tags: Lake Bell, Leslie Bibb, Michelle Borth, Will Forte, Nick Kroll, Tyler Labine, Lucy Punch, Angela Sarafyan, Lindsay Sloane, Martin Starr, Jason Sudeikis, Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, James D. Stern
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