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'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy' – not as bad as its name

Sunday - Feb 19, 2012, 12:13pm (GMT+5.5)
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Film: "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy"; Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb, Tyler Labine; Directors: Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck; Rating: ***

It is the ultimate male fantasy - to be part of an orgy without being answerable to anyone. But besides the rich, powerful and corrupt, not many ever get there. The best chance a common man has to get close to an orgy is with friends.

"A Good…" takes this premise to build a story that despite its title, is thankfully more about friendship and romance, than sex.

After a sprawling summer house where ten 30-something friends had spent many weekends in big parties is to be sold out, they decide to give it a grand farewell by doing something they had never done before. They settle on an orgy.

However, the eight people involved (two are married) -- four males and four females, have been best of friends for years. An orgy between friends will obviously come with its own unexpected set of complications.

Most of us have liked the sitcom "Friends", the goofy characters that inhabit it and the strange chemistry between them. What if the six friends of "Friends" were to decide on an orgy. That seems to be the basic inspiration for this film.

One can twist and apply a famous adage about books to say - don’t judge a movie by its title. Despite a cheesy name, "A Good…" is not a B-grade soft porn film. And though it isn’t a masterpiece either, it does a good character study of the lives, motivations and mindset of eight people, who despite being as different from each other as any eight people can be, are best of friends.

The first half of the film does well to build tension in the mind of the viewer, who’s wondering whether the eight friends will indeed indulge in an orgy. This doubt, and the understanding of the writer-director duo that sex is a play of many other things than bodies, raises the bar for the film. And it is in navigating these ‘other things’ that the film really scores.

The friends thus go through many false starts before they finally do it. And even when they do, it does not get cheesy or vulgar about them or their act. Though Indian audiences will miss much of the film due to censorship, the directors have been smart enough to keep the good parts out of any nudity, or vulgarity and thus out of the reach of the censors.

Of course it has many flaws. Despite its decent to good wit and humour, it had enough scope for more. In the end, the conceptualisation of the scene ends up being better than its writing.

In the end, "A Good…" is a light-hearted film that does not take itself seriously even for an instant and thus neither should the viewer. If you do that, you are on safe ground.

By Satyen K. Bordoloi




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