Just One Time (II) (1998)

R   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance

Just One Time (1998) Poster

When the fiancee of a fireman reluctantly agrees to participate in a menage a trois with another woman, she does so on the condition that he reciprocate the favor with another man, which ... See full summary »


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8 February 2003 | tim.halkin
Ah, the Frailty of Manhood!
There is potential here, and it shines through occasionally, but unfortunately not consistently.

Despite the fact that the ultimate effect is cute (isn't that a terrible word to describe a film?!) and charming, I found myself scratching my head once or twice about the basic premise of this sometimes enchanting little ditty. I guess Janger is trying to warn us that no fantasy lives up to the reality. OK...an age-old piece of wisdom...no arguments here, BUT he never REALLY lets his two lead characters experience their fantasies. They just seem to get lost and frustrated on the road leading up to it.

Anthony (Janger's character) wants to see his beloved fiancée, Amy (played by a very winning Jennifer Esposito), have sex Just One Time with another woman before they get married and HAVE to put their fantasies to bed. That's where the first question arises: why do married couples have to stop having fantasies? OK, small detail, let's move on...

Amy does not want to grant her beloved Anthony his somewhat cliché, pubescent, masturbatory fantasy, and tries to get around the problem by one-upping him: if he has sex with a man for her, she'll give herself to a woman for him. Now pride and egos start getting in the way of anyone calling the nonsense off. Enter Guillermo Diaz: your excuse for a romantic comedy's gay sidekick. Not to say that Mr. Diaz plays his role poorly; he's actually very winning! That said, his role is no more than a convenient plot devise: the sweet, non-threatening, virginal gay neighbor, who enters on cue, but never causes too much discomfort, either for Anthony or the viewer. Same goes for the conveniently lesbian neighbor played by Joelle Carter, who is planted there to give Amy her brush with homosexuality.

Whereas Amy at least gets a lesbian kiss of free will out of it all, before she throws up her hands and screams, "bring on the bands and ring the wedding bells", Anthony stays annoyingly heterosexual. Oh, he does have a kiss, but it's aggressive and full of anger and frustration. When he wakes up the next morning next to his token gay friend, he's horrified at the idea that something might have transpired. Thank God, his bedmate is able to clear that fright up within 30 seconds!

Actually, a rather insulting bit of tripe, but if even the more emotionally self-assured and mature homosexuals were generous enough to forgive heterosexual men their occasional lapses of taste and decorum for the sake of defending their obviously fragile manhood, then everyone might actually enjoy the 94 minutes that this film has to offer.

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