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A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

Jason Sudeikis and Tyler Labine partake in A Good Old Fashioned Orgy. [Photo: Samuel Goldwyn Pictures]

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy 1.5 out of 4

star1-5

Having this year already netted a Hall Pass and offed some Horrible Bosses, Jason Sudeikis now completes his 2011 dude-comedy trilogy with A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, a genial film of good old-fashioned humorlessness. Possessed of an eye-catching title and matching wannabe-scandalous premise which it utilizes to gussy up its sub-Big Chill friends-reunion melodrama, Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck's writing/directing debut concerns a bunch of thirtysomething pals led by adorable Eric (Sudeikis). Relishing every opportunity to ditch their Manhattan jobs, the affable bunch spends weekends at Eric's Hamptons beach house, where they throw wild themed parties. When Eric's dad (Don Johnson, randomly appearing in one scene) suddenly decides to sell the place, Eric and hefty crazy man Mike (Tyler Labine) decide that, for a final Labor Day blowout, they should organize a quiet, intimate orgy with their six other best friends. It's an idea met with only mild resistance by the crew, who—be it annoying therapist Alison (Lake Bell), stuck in a lousy relationship; Adam (Nick Kroll), who clings to his Blackberry like a security blanket; or Sue (Michelle Borth), still hungering for Eric 15 years after high school graduation—all have hang-ups that the film suggests might be solved by some group sex, a notion that posits the carnal setup as a vehicle for self-confidence-building and friendship-strengthening.

Even if Gregory and Huyck didn't under-light every scene to give it a dreary amateur-indie grubbiness, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy would still be a tattered work of transparent outlandishness, wielding a superficially shocking plot hook for conservative, happily-every-after pap in which everything always works out for everyone, at almost no cost and with next to no work. After much dilly-dallying about whether these people will or won't participate, and after married friends (Will Forte and Lucy Punch) throw a fit over not being invited to the fun, the film finally gets to the main event, and though it doesn't wimp out by having its characters back out of the action, it nonetheless depicts such partner-swapping as just carefree bacchanalia free of consequence or meaning. It's just a contrived way for everyone to find themselves, which for Eric involves discovering true love with a cute realtor (Leslie Bibb).

Absent of stakes, the various bits—Eric and Mike visit bearded David Koechner at a mattress store sex club, for example—flounder about without purpose, a problem exacerbated by the fact that the script is almost wholly deficient in actual jokes. Aside from Sudeikis amusingly ad-libbing to a random dominatrix "Hello, senator," A Good Old Fashioned Orgy avoids funny one-liners like the plague, choosing in their place to deliver only squishy faux-outrageousness that, like Sudeikis's one-note stud, exudes an unwelcome air of self-satisfaction.

Director(s): Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck Screenwriter(s): Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Tyler Labine, Leslie Bibb, Will Forte, Lucy Punch, Lake Bell, Michelle Borth, Martin Starr, Nick Kroll, Lindsay Sloane, David Koechner, Don Johnson Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Pictures Runtime: 95 min Rating: R Year: 2011

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