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A Good Old Fashioned Orgy – Film Review

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A Good Old Fashioned Orgy - Jason Sudeikis and Tyler Labine
Eric (Jason Sudeikis) and Mike (Tyler Labine) © 2011 Samuel Goldwyn Films

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is the second movie this year (after Horrible Bosses) that tries passing off Saturday Night Live cast member Jason Sudeikis as a roguish ladies man. More suited for snarky smartass or absurdly silly roles, Sudeikis doesn’t display enough onscreen warmth or charisma to be convincing as a fun-loving, irresistible charmer.

His miscasting may be the least of this movie’s problems. Sudeikis plays Manhattan office drone Eric, who spends every summer weekend partying at his father’s big, beautiful beach house in the Hamptons. Eric’s hordes of friends turn up in the hundreds for theme gatherings such as the White Trash Bash (mullet wig required). When dad (Don Johnson) puts the place up for sale, Eric decides the perfect farewell event will be a first-time orgy attended by several members of his inner circle.

For the next 90 minutes, a beer commercial’s worth of 30-somethings bond, bicker, break up and break down before the big day. Tyler Labine does a poor man’s Jack Black act as Mike, Eric’s clownish, crude and corpulent best friend. Alison (Lake Bell) resents her Eurotrash boyfriend Marcus (Rhys Coiro), Doug (Martin Starr) is a procrastinating musician, and Sue (Michelle Borth) has a secret crush on Eric. Glenn (Sudeikis’ fellow Saturday Night Live cast member Will Forte) and Kate (Lucy Punch) are newlyweds who resent not being invited to the orgy but are determined to be included. And real estate agent Kelly (Leslie Bibb) is the orgy-unaware new girlfriend Eric tries keeping out of the loop.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy - Leslie Bibb and Jason Sudeikis
Kelly (Leslie Bibb) and Eric (Jason Sudeikis) © 2011 Samuel Goldwyn Films

Most of the screenplay (by directors Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck) plays like a dumbed-down and soft-core smutty version of The Big Chill. The two most obvious doppelgangers for characters from that infinitely better movie are Nick Kroll as Adam, a persnickety nerd with a striking resemblance to Jeff Goldblum, and Angela Sarafyan as an easygoingly elfin Meg Tilly stand-in named Willow. Twi-hards and Mr Skin fans will be intrigued to hear that Sarafyan, who will play the vampire Tia in parts one and two of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, does her first-ever topless scene here. But that’s it for any noteworthy nudity by these cast members, despite the teasing title.

To its credit, at least the movie doesn’t pull a last-minute cheat by canceling the main event. The less-than-graphic orgy is more awkward, off-putting and unlikely than erotic, but it does take place.

What really sinks A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is that it is more sophomoric than sexy. It’s not as creepy-skeevy as the dreadful Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which also tried to make light of lasciviousness, but that’s not much of a compliment. The screenplay is so lacking in credibility and has such strange ideas about how male/female friendships work it could have been written by a horny high school virgin who never had a girlfriend and only can imagine what “doing it” is like.

Also, a movie about the problems of an overgrown adolescent who is resentful about losing his rich daddy’s beach house may not resonate very well with the American hoi polloi these days during the New Depression.

At one point during the festivities, Eric apologizes to his pals by saying, “I swear to God, guys, I thought this was gonna be fun.” He should have been talking to the audience.

[Rating:1]