11 January 2019 | CokenaSmile
Some bread, some butter, some laughs, some mold
The film was released in 2014, back when HW was still having his "power trips" in private and we hadn't yet established a hashtag to identify those women subject to the unwanted power trips of HW and his ogre brethren in the world (Nobel Prize in Literature, anyone?). In 2014, people weren't immediately thinking toward the creepy, although maybe we should have been, no?
That said, I need to freely admit I laughed out loud at the line "I can see your hymen from here!" right after I was horrified by the very same scene.
There's definitely comic potential here. Kudos to the filmmakers for making and releasing a feature film. That takes a tremendous amount of work, cooperation, and goodwill from many on tiny budget. There are funny moments in this film, and perhaps even more importantly, this is a complete story. Credit should be given.
Now, for some "buts."
Five minutes into this film, the male boss of a 30 year old virgin female urges her to lose her virginity. This is not the sum total of the scene. I hate it when people do that - grab one scene and whip the dead horse until it's glue. That proclivity of the sanctimonious brought us the Production Code many years ago and eventually gave Joseph Breen a well-paying job and a crippling God-complex. Do not rush to join the crowd beating the horse - please keep reading.
The male boss in question in the film is a "life coach" doctor who's treating Bobby Moynihan's character's lack of actualization, which includes earthy passion he has yet to consummate. Does the doc violate Bobby's HIPPA laws? Yes, he does, but this is movie-world, people, so lighten up.
Our heroine, Amelia, works the front desk for Dr. Life Coach, so she's certainly privy to Bobby's virginal file, and there's an established attraction of sorts between Bobby's character and Our Heroine. Likewise, her parents fully support the intrusive nature of her employer, so who's Amelia to object if her own parents won't put her interests first?
Now, had her de-virgin campaigning boss been female, this would have likely felt less creepy.
Or, had the doctor's office been somewhere less rape-y looking, it might have seemed less creepy (which is actually a bit of nice mise en scene at work here - we're not meant to believe this is the most qualified doctor in the world, nor is he overrun with patients, and if he keeps outing all the tricenarian virgins in town, he may need to take up an Uber route for additional income).
Or, had she not been alone in the rape-y building with said boss and her virginal love interest/the doctor's patient, it might not have been so creepy.
But when the boss went all inappropriately sex-coaching on Amelia, his employee, I immediately went all hackles-creepy at the scene.
As previously stated, I also proceeded to laugh out loud at one of the subsequent lines in the scene, which probably makes me a bad feminist. The line was funny. It just would have been SO MUCH funnier coming out of someone else's mouth, like, say RuPaul, or Jane Lynch. The whole premise of this film is that everyone's up in our characters' Cheerios, so the violation of privacy is a given and supposed to be funny and sometimes is.
Likewise, I'm not a prude. This morning I suffered through 109 minutes of vintage silent adult film (The Good Old Naughty Days, 2003) of which at least 4 minutes were actually somewhat entertaining, if not actually enticing, and of which at least 105 minutes were cinematic hack work with a variety of nekked French prostitutes of the Jazz Age tolerating and sometimes acting enthusiastic about intrusive schlong-work from less-attractive "suitors" (seriously, what IS that double-standard in adult film that guys can look like twelve miles of bad road, but the dames must be tarted beyond oblivion?). Prudes don't make it through 105 minutes of that schlock, I promise you.
To be (even more) fair, last night I watched THE LATE BLOOMER, a funny film directed by Kevin Pollack where a 30 y.o. male virgin was encouraged by his mother (Maria Bello as a fab, kooky, New Age mama) to spank his monkey, which is probably more creepy-funny than straight-up creepy, but I laughed all the same.
Is there a double-standard when it comes to which adults get to address which 30 year old's virginity? Yes, there is. Because our society kind of sucks, we are allowed to laugh at emasculating virginal men of consenting age, because 'Murican males oughta be out there micturating on everything that doesn't move and then using their magical powers to prove in other dominating ways just how very male their essence is, at least in non-fluoridated districts (they shouldn't, of course, I'm just paraphrasing the societal norm and/or Kubrick).
Of course, also because our society kind of sucks, for years and years we allowed ogres to paw an obscene number of women, but hey, THAT WHOLE TIME we were ALL allowed to laugh at male virgins in the movies, so why on earth is everyone complaining? Quid pro quo-ta of offenses, y'all! (Before you call NOW and Camille Paglia to announce feminist and general social effrontery, let me clearly state that this is sarcasm, because laughing at emasculation does not equal assault, but it most certainly incites assault. Alas, I'm not sure IMDB displays sarcasti-font.)
My final "to be fair" is that in 2019, so much of what used to be funny just isn't at the moment, but also, we've never needed so desperately to laugh, and laugh together. Likewise, we'll never decide what's OK to laugh about and what's not OK to laugh about unless we have some Lenny Bruce types to test the waters, push the envelope, and find those lines in the sand for us.
For the filmmakers - ALL INDIE FILMMAKERS - dear lord, there is never, never, NEVER a shortage of writers moping about in coffee houses, bars, and soup kitchen lines, so PLEASE go find a few to vet your story before you get everyone together to shoot. I can't help but think that had these filmmakers shoved their script into the hands of any and every semi-literate person around them, someone would have eventually said, ever so politely, "Do you think it might be funnier if a FEMALE doctor told Amelia that she needs to de-virginize?"
Seriously, I know most up-and-coming indie filmmakers are hesitant to make everyone around them suffer through the pain of birthing first films, but I promise you, at the first inkling of success, you will have a line around your house of hanger-on-ers volunteering to read your scripts, pick up your dry cleaning, and basically do anything that puts them in contact with low-D-list stars, so it is 100% fine for you to impose on these same people on your way to the top. Hopefully, they'll find the little omissions and errors that could prevent you from reaching the top, or at least a modicum of success.
Rachel Simon's review on Bustle.com claims "This is a movie made by, for, and about women - what's not to love?"
Well, I reckon I found at least one thing that's not to love among a lot of hard work, some LOL jokes, and an overall honest effort by the filmmakers.
But how does a film made "by, for, and about women" miss such a glaring faux pas as this?