A Good Old Fashioned Orgy – Review



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Jason Sudeikis deserves better

When it comes to R-rated comedies in 2011, Jason Sudeikis seems to be in nearly every single major one of them. With a major role in both Hall Pass and Horrible Bosses, the Saturday Night Live stalwart seems to be on the verge of becoming the next major comedic movie star to come from the ranks of the note quite ready for prime time players. With two films that can be called hits so far in 2011, Sudeikis’s last is far from his best unfortunately as A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is destined to wind up in the bargain bin than the comedy classics aisle of a Big Box store.

The film has a fairly simple premise. Eric (Sudeikis) has a fairly charmed life. Monday through Friday he works in an office job and rents a small apartment in New York City. On the weekends, though, he and his friends from high school go up to the Hamptons to party at his father’s lake house estate. And they’re quite the eclectic bunch:

McCrudden (Tyler Labine) is his best friend and erstwhile companion. Doug (Martin Starr) is a burgeoning rock star who can’t decide on nearly anything in his life despite the patience of his girlfriend Willow (Angela Sarafyan). Sue (Michelle Borth) has had a crush on Eric since they were kids but hasn’t revealed it. Alison (Lake Bell) is in a toxic relationship with her foreign boyfriend (Rhys Coiro). Glenn (Will Forte) and Kate (Lucy Punch) are the newlyweds and have a child together. Adam (Nick Kroll) is their hypochondriac workaholic friend. Lastly Laura (Lindsay Sloane) is the self-conscious one, having lost a large amount of weight and not comfortable with her new physique.

When Eric’s father (Don Johnson) decides he wants to sell the property they’ve been diligently partying at for any number of years, they decide to have one last epic party. Running out of themes they’ve used over the years, Eric and McCrudden settle on one that’ll change their friendships forever: an orgy. Convincing the group one by one, they all opt in and, week by week, they set up the event. A complication arises for Eric, however, when the pretty realtor (Leslie Bibb) who is selling his father’s house ends up turning into a romantic interest. Stuck between wanting to have this one last party and sexual shenanigans, and what could perhaps be a great love of his life, Eric has to figure everything out before the big weekend happens.

While the film has a fairly large cast, this is Sudeikis’s film. He’s being called on to carry it in both a dramatic fashion as well as a comedic one and for the most part he delivers. This is a film that mainly survives because he has tremendous timing playing the straight man to the comic relief that the rest of the cast can be defined as. He’s the one navigating through the waters of setting this up and this is more than just a party to him. This is part of his childhood, et al, and letting go of the house through this method is intended to be a cathartic moment for the character. And if the film exclusively followed Eric it’d be a fairly strong one because Sudeikis is fairly flawless for a genre film.

The problem is that the film has way too many characters and story arcs to try and be contained in a running time that barely breaks 90 minutes. This is a film that has enough material and characters to be able to develop much more than the flimsy ones that come through. Major events happen and they don’t resonate like they should because there isn’t enough time to develop them all. The film has really two roads it could’ve gone with a short running time: focus on Eric and his journey or focus on the collective experience.

The film tries to do both and suffers because of it.

People’s grand decisions about whether or not to do it don’t have any real heft because we barely know anything about them. What should have more weight doesn’t because there just isn’t enough time to do everything that Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck want them to do. This is a film that has enough material and enough quality actors to be engaging for two hours but falls short. Thus something like decent character development for the cast, and their ultimate decision to participate in the orgy, goes to the side to maintain the short running time.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy has just enough smart writing and moments to make it interesting but not enough to make it good.

Writer / Director: Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck
Notable Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb, Lake Bell, Rhys Coiro, Michelle Borth, Nick Kroll, Tyler Labine, Angela Sarafyan, Lindsay Sloane, Martin Starr, Lucy Punch, Will Forte, Don Johnson

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