'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy': A good, old fashioned sex comedy

Jason Sudeikis stars in "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy."

Story highlights

  • "Orgy's" humor is rude, lewd and probably not for the grandmothers of the world
  • It's a feel-good comedy with a raunchy streak a mile wide
  • Despite absurdity of premise, "Orgy" works because the characters are so flawed
To those overly PC folks who might frown on a film that glorifies such hedonistic pursuits as weekends of endless drunken antics and to whom the very idea of an orgy gives hives, I say ... that's actually not this movie. Not really, anyway.
Surprisingly, writing/directing team Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck have crafted a fun, funny and, in the end, very sweet film.
OK, yes, there's some nudity (but not much) and some crudity (significantly more). The humor is rude, lewd and probably not for the grandmothers of the world, but "Porky's," this is not. A feel-good comedy with a raunchy streak a mile wide, this is.
Every summer weekend, Eric (Jason Sudeikis) and his friends head out to his father's country house in the Hamptons for a couple of days at the beach. Occasionally, these weekends are cranked up a notch for theme parties, like the "white trash" bash (with bean dip served in a toilet bowl, attractive female cops and ... a cow) that opens the film.
When Eric's father (Don Johnson, in a cameo) tells him that the house is going on the market, Eric decides that they must have a last blowout on Labor Day weekend but can't come up with a theme, leaving best friend Mike (Tyler Labine) to come up with ideas until they hit on the orgy idea. But this time it won't be a big party, only the core group of friends.
More often than not, the longer you're friends with someone, the less likely you're going to want to see them naked, but Eric and Mike put the idea forward. Complete with a "Goonies" reference, Eric gives the orgy equivalent of a St. Crispin's Day speech. He is an absurdly charming guy, so he's not laughed out of the room, like most of us would be.
Initially, the women take to the idea like a cat to a shower, and a good deal of Eric and Mike's time is spent on three tasks: researching how to throw an orgy (which includes visiting a swingers club in the back room of a bedroom furniture store), convincing everyone to partake in said orgy and sabotaging efforts to sell the house so they can make it to Labor Day.
Eric and his friends are all attractive (although the women far outshine the men in this regard) and are all somewhat damaged, giving them the length of the film to reveal that damage and, with luck, correct it. After all, what says "healthy self-esteem" louder than an orgy with your close friends?
Despite the absurdity of this premise, "Orgy" works, in part because the characters are so flawed.
Eric is a serial bachelor, refusing to grow up and take a relationship seriously. Mike is overweight, perpetually drunk and horny, and carries a "second banana complex" regarding Eric. Laura (Lindsay Sloane) is the insecure hot-but-doesn't-think-she's-hot one. Sue (Michelle Borth) has carried a torch for Eric since high school, and everyone knows it (except Eric, natch).
Then there's Adam (Nick Kroll), the the nerdy workaholic who is almost literally attached to his BlackBerry and is having a crisis of employment. Alison (Lake Bell) is an uptight shrink who is dependent on her judgmental and cartoonish German boyfriend, Marcus (a hysterical Rhys Coiro).
Also present are Duquez (Martin Starr), the hipster musician who can commit neither to finishing his record nor to his girlfriend, Willow (Angela Sarafyan), and Glenn and Amy (WIll Forte and Lucy Punch), the group's married-with-baby friends who are decidedly not invited to the orgy. That's a lot of dysfunction to address in an hour and half and still get an orgy in!
Add stunning real estate agent Kelly (Leslie Bibb), who is interested in Eric and in whom Eric might actually see a reason to finally grow up (a little), and you've got a pretty full film. Sudeikis is a surprisingly charming leading man, and Labine is proving to be a hilarious actor.
Particular attention must be paid to Bell as the kind of psychologist for whom the concept of "transference" seems to have been invented. She's very funny, and when she finally acquiesces to the titular fiesta, she does so with a comedy flair that should be noted for future roles.
As a confession, I grew up, in part, where the film is set (most of it was actually shot in North Carolina) and went though a similar situation with my parents' house (minus the orgy, of course) so it's possible that my emotions were inadvertently being tugged on a bit but I don't think overly so.
Although it's not exactly the deepest film of the year and many of the situations are absurd to an extreme, "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy" is very funny and smarter than the storyline has a right to be. It achieves this without shortchanging its characters or its audience. Any sweetness or emotional resonance you might get from the film is gravy, but if you're like me, you'll feel good after this one.