10 Rules for sleeping Around is a botched screwball comedy of sorts involving a group of cartoonishly heterosexual New Yorkers who end up at a house at the Hamptons either to have sex or to check if their partners are having sex. In this hide-and-go-seek setup, girls are always hot, nameless, and lingerie-wearing dimwits. And if they’re Latin, they’re even hotter, less dressed, and condescendingly referred to as “Chiquita” by buffoonishly masculine guys who use pick-up lines like “Your ass looks like two basketballs hiding under your skirt”—which they may use right before employing said “basketballs” as bongos.
It’s difficult to decide if the film, which never even tries to utilize its title as a conceptual framework for its narrative, is more offensive as a piece of cinematic triteness or as an ode to sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and so on without the slightest sense of self-awareness. Here, gay men, or rather, straight men pretending to be gay, are French-sounding flaming queens who can’t help but make bitchy comments about women’s hairstyles, straight men are otherwise reasonable beings sidetracked by readily available femininity just begging to be manhandled, and Brazilians apparently speak Spanish. If the distasteful portrayal of minorities is cowardly enacted through their very absence (misunderstandings lead to two men in bed, followed by the disgust of the male character who catches them there), the representation of heterosexuality isn’t that much more pleasant. For a film so bent on naturalizing the presumably hilarious incongruity of “the sexes,” it sure features lots and lots of that site of horror: a naked male body. And for comedic purposes, of course.
Perhaps director Leslie Greif was vying for the spirit of films such as Some Like It Hot or How to Marry a Millionaire. But whereas in those films characters were built on nuance, unpredictability, and authenticity, the characters in 10 Rules for Sleeping Around are so one-dimensional it’s hard to even remember who’s who, and impossible to yearn for their reappearance. Greif simply spends no time developing their personas, quickly surrendering to their status as replaceable functions in this ode to the power asymmetry of gender relations.