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  Casual Sex? Let's Talk About The IssuesBuy this film here.
Year: 1988
Director: Geneviève Robert
Stars: Lea Thompson, Victoria Jackson, Stephen Shellen, Jerry Levine, Andrew Dice Clay, Mary Gross, Valerie Brieman, Peter Dvorsky, David Sargent, Cynthia Phillips, Don Woodard, Danny Breen, Bruce Abbott, Susan Ann Connor, Dan Woren, Dale Midkiff, Sherri Stoner
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Stacy (Lea Thompson) and Melissa (Victoria Jackson) are best friends worried about one thing: casual sex. They can't make up their minds how they feel about one night stands and the like when there are so many issues now to contend with, especially for women of the nineteen-eighties. To be fair, Melissa has only had two sexual partners in her life, and is afraid to try any more, but Stacy was a lot more promiscuous with a string of boyfriends and flings, but now everyone's worried about AIDS and she doesn't want to continue with that lifestyle when it's a problem...

The eighties saw the sex comedy go into overdrive as it became a lot more mainstream and not the province of softcore porn, in Hollywood at any rate, but a lot of those movies were strictly from the male perspective, so there were a dearth of such films for women. Casual Sex? (the question mark must have been important to somebody) was taken from a stage musical by comediennes Wendy Goldman and Judy Toll (who scripted for cult chat show spoof Night Stand before her untimely demise), but ended up one of those adaptations where the studio got cold feet about translating the work to the screen with the songs intact.

Therefore at no point did anyone break out into song - well, one character did, but he was supposed to be a performer with a band, and he was on stage, so... Songs might have improved this considerably because without them it was a little flat, wiith a bright, sunny look yet no real oomph to its jokes and a habit of having Stacy and Melissa talk to the camera as if they were in a theatre, which didn't quite come across all that well. There were signs that the script had been toned down, so though there were a number of jokes about sexual situations and would-be frank talk on the same subject, it all gathered itself up to a very twinkly ending when originally it had a more cynical take on relationships.

While going for the bland, cheery conclusion to the tale might have suited the romcom addicts, you did feel as though something more spiky was trying to escape from Casual Sex? and it would have been a better comedy if it had. The plot has it that after a barren patch in their love lives, the two women settle on a spa holiday where they can get in shape and with any luck meet men who are doing the same, so though Stacy is more enthusiastic than Melissa, before long they are having treatments, working out and casting an eye around the establishment for suitable boyfriend material. A few of the males appear nice enough, but this being a comedy there have to be problems.

One problem, and not only for the lead characters but the film as well, was that Andrew Dice Clay was a love interest, playing a boorish macho type for most of the running time but somehow in a hard to believe development turning out to be ideal for one of the girls. That was all wrapped up in the denouement, but didn't half strike a wrong note, particularly as he seemed like a far worse option than some of the other men (seriously, was that singer so bad? He may have been overenthusiastic but his heart was in the right place). Meanwhile, the more typical sex comedy business continued with embarrassing situations and saucy wisecracks, though this being sympathetic to the females not much nudity, and then only for a rear view, but if it hadn't been for the more explicit language this would be ideal for an eighties sitcom. Even the music sounded like it belonged on the small screen which was dismaying when the composer was baroque pop genius Van Dyke Parks - maybe he should have composed a song or two for them to sing?
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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