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Review: Endless lip service to 'Talk About Sex'

Web posted on: Tuesday, September 22, 1998 11:53:28 AM

From Reviewer Paul Tatara

(CNN) -- OK, just for the sake of argument, let's say you were born and your chromosomes dictated that you should become a woman. Eventually, you end up in elementary school, then, in the fifth grade or so, you start realizing that maybe you're falling behind. A lot of the other kids (girls as well as boys) are way ahead of you in art class, or they're talented singers, or maybe they're math-whizzes. Some of them are even so emotionally developed they've started showing concern for the feelings of other people!! You're getting lost in the shuffle, and you need to do something fast.

One day you wake up, and -- "HEY! I'm, pretty good lookin'." Now you're hitting high school, and all the guys who've found themselves in the same boat that you've boarded are figuring out that they're big enough to run over people while playing football. So now you've got yourself a little club. The guys get to lift weights and run pass routes while pretending it's the single most important thing on Earth. You get to cheer them on from the sidelines, or twirl a baton at halftime ... and you get to pretend that looking cute while twirling that baton is the single most important thing on earth.

And it is, you know. It really is.

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Congratulations. You've learned a big lesson that'll soothe your troubled soul when you reach adulthood -- if the surface works, get together with like-minded types and focus solely on that surface. It's safe, and you can delude yourself into thinking that the most obvious things in life are also the most difficult to fathom, because no one will ever call you on it for fear of ruining your shared illusion. You, Baby Blue, are finally on top, not all those other people who can focus beyond their own belly buttons.

I'm not suggesting that any of the people involved in "Let's Talk About Sex" are that spiritless in real life, but this movie is a virtual monument to vapid, obvious, simpleton flesh obsession. Personalities and firm, tan butts are interchangeable commodities in this world, a world that's conveniently located smack in the middle of Miami's South Beach. As anyone who's ever read a fashion magazine knows, South Beach is the international capital of the firm, tan butt five years running, with no end in sight. If you'll pardon the pun.

Cheerleader-y audition tape

"Let's Talk About Sex" is a cinema verite-type concoction written, directed, and co-starring an actress named Troy Beyer. It's supposed to be about a woman who needs to shoot an audition tape for a possible TV program, so she and a couple of her hotsy-totsy friends (Paget Brewster and Randi Ingerman) hit the streets of Miami to find out what women really think about sex. This is followed by what seems like hours of raw footage of women speaking up about such weighty topics as the importance of penis size, favorite sexual positions, and the awful, uncomprehending pigginess of the modern American male.

It's no coincidence that most of the reviews you're seeing of this movie are half as long as you expect them to be. There's really less than nothing to say about it. Beyer takes a couple of halfhearted stabs at real scenes, but they're emptier than a Texaco station condom dispenser. My favorite is when Ingerman goes to bed with a Marlboro Man who had previously mistreated her. After the ... well, you know ... she smokes a joint and tells him that they should try going out on a real date because she thinks they can "connect on another level."

She might have tried connecting with him before she slept with him, but maybe I'm old fashioned. On the other hand, when you consider the general outlook of these three numskull characters, maybe she just means that they need to go at it on the second floor of the house, rather than downstairs. The "connecting" would be solely related to their hips.

After all, that's the most important thing.

"Let's Talk About Sex" is a painfully apt title. The language is blunt, and there's some nudity. It looks like it was shot on 16-millimeter film and blown up to 35 millimeter, although I could be wrong. Who cares, anyway? In this case, size certainly doesn't matter. Rated R. 82 minutes.

Fine Line Features, a Time Warner property, is a sister company to CNN Interactive.

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