Ah, yes. Like The Band before it, Sex Stories is another one of those "real sex" films aiming for the arthouse of the red light district. Would you be shocked if I told you it didn't work? Actually, Sex Stories fails straight out of the gate, with a whole cast's worth of unappealing, uninteresting people and a terrible script lacking in any useful narrative structure. I'd also be inclined to say the dialogue is bad, although I suppose I can't really hold my screener copy's awful French-to-English translation against the film itself.
The plot of Sex Stories is right in the title, unfortunately: the movie splits its time between two parties, one for the ladies and one for the men. At both, the people in question sit around making bad jokes and recounting their relationship woes, one after another, a technique straight from the Lather Rinse Repeat school of screenwriting. Just like other gimmicks, such as 3D, for instance, the filmmakers quickly become more preoccupied with delivering on their extra-curricular promises than making a good movie. It's hard to even make a half-hearted attempt to follow any of these people's stories (or attempts at stories), because the movie keeps interrupting them with increasingly tiresome extended sex scenes.
The major curiosity factor in a movie like this is: why? Why do the filmmakers think the addition of pornography into a film will improve it? I haven't seen any narrative porn (well, aside from these movies), but it strikes me as a clear bit of artistic condesencion to assume that actual adult films (which, for all intents and purposes, appear to have bigger budgets, better scripts, and more experienced actors) don't already accomplish the exact same goal these movies are trying to, without the drippy pretense of "art" set right out in front as a perfect target for mockery. Even when one of these projects does end up in the hands of a capable filmmaker like Michael Winterbottom (not someone I personally appreciate, but a true filmmaker nonetheless), then I'm not sold that the sex really brings anything to it good acting won't bring on its own.
And the actors! The painfully amateur cast members can't all believe that doing Sex Stories will be a major boon to their career, can they? Acting is becoming another person, not just doing things that you wouldn't do yourself. I also hate to say it, because I'm no George Clooney myself, but most of these people are kinda wonky-looking, so the idea of watching them all have sex with one another isn't the most appealing proposition. One character even has attention thrown on the weird bend in his junk, meaning we as an audience get to see an actor who was, I assume, chosen for possessing an angular package. Also not particularly appealing. I suppose Sex Stories could easily be the craigslist hookup of feature film projects, but if that were true, you'd think some of these people would look more enthused to be there.
Eighty-five sex scenes later, the whole choppy contraption (bumps and) grinds to a halt with yet another couple of sex scenes and a cut-off point that leaves 75% of these couples' sexual dysfunctions unrepaired. I didn't even go into the movie's rampant, 1950s-era sexism in which women are naggy, clingy harpies that should stay in the kitchen, and guys are rock-headed pigs who cheat on their wives and girlfriends with any woman who even bats an eyelash in their direction. At least The Band was occasionally sexy, when it wasn't detouring into poop jokes and weird crossdressing-slash-domination scenes. On the other hand, I didn't have to watch a creepy dude masturbate for fifteen minutes in the back of a van, so maybe it's a toss up.
The DVD, Video, Audio, and Extras
Breaking Glass Pictures sent over a DVD-R in a plastic sleeve, so I can't comment on anything aside from the film itself.
I'm just kidding. It's not a toss up. Skip it and rent a regular movie (or an adult film) instead.
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