Monday, August 4, 2014

Casual Sex? (1988)

“I’m driving this rich couple around in my limo, right? Then, get this; Mr. Big Bucks waves a couple twenties in front of my face. Says he wants me to get it on with his wife while he watches, right? You know what I’m talkin’ about, right, snapperhead?”

The Story:

Despite a staunch difference in personalities, best friends Stacy (Lea Thompson) and Melissa (Victoria Jackson) are practically inseparable. Tired of local guys that think with the wrong head, they hop a bus to a spa resort in hopes of meeting new, more sophisticated guys on their vacation. They neglect to fathom that this might be the goal of every other girl primed up for fun in the sun, not to mention the fact that the supposed buff and mature men they plan to encounter might just be the irritating dude on the street corner howling whenever a good looking broad prances by searching for new meat to ogle. The spa is populated with a potpourri of characters, all with the same intent; it’s as though all the anomalies not satisfied with their daily lives have accumulated en masse to find exactly what they thought they wanted to get away from in a more relaxed setting. Focused on putting their hearts first and private parts second, the two friends continue their search for love in another wrong place.

The Review:

The more pornographic antics of Porky’s are nowhere to be found in Casual Sex?, a romantic comedy that just happens to be all about getting it on, albeit in a much safer form than people were used to at the time. Released in 1988 when AIDS had become a pressing issue to the entire planet, it’s quirky to watch a film where general use of a condom isn’t a given. I guess we’ve come a long way, baby. Taking the time to develop its characters and having them think as clearly as their own life experiences have dictated they should allows us to take the film more seriously than most that will be covered on BALLS Academy. At times it borders on becoming a chick flick, but the presence of Andrew Dice Clay pretty much shatters this conclusion from the minute the masculine, foul-mouthed Brooklyn bad boy flaunts his chest hair to the ladies. The D-Man is always welcome in my books and here he plays himself playing a guy named Vinny, who is like a more reserved version of the Diceman caricature we all know and love.

If Stacy and Melissa were portrayed by lesser actresses, Casual Sex? could have been a disaster. Lea Thompson is good as Stacy, who is a bright young lady that is somehow more perplexing than the oftentimes distant and kooky Melissa, a kindergarten teacher that has yet to experience the big O. Stacy has been around the block with everyone from small time rock stars to nerds, but Melissa has barely been with a person you could actually qualify as a shell of a real man before, let alone one that loved her. She is a very sympathetic, ditzy, big-eyed puppy dog type and appears to be searching for the Prince Charming, fairy tale outcome we expect Stacy to fall into, when in reality, she’s probably met a lot of guys that really suited her, but never took the time to piece the puzzle together. Sooner or later each of them realize that it’s not what you plan out, but what actually happens that plays the biggest role in a relationship. What seems perfect still may not be one’s cup of tea, and that imperfections can be the most interesting characteristics a person can encompass. It also goes to show that sex complicates things exponentially.

Even though sexual relations are pivotal to the plot, Casual Sex? never veers into raunchy territory but still packs plenty of R-rated laughs. Actions and reactions are almost an antithesis to the male-oriented teen comedy; like when we see a flashback to the girls talking on the phone as teenagers and Stacy admitting to having “touched it” for the first time. The scene is as funny as they come, but the sense of humor is in a direct contrast to the Meats and Stiflers we are accustomed to, unless you’re the type that watches Can’t Buy Me Love monthly. I wouldn’t say Casual Sex? is perfect, but I found its confusion and conclusion about love and coming of age accurate as it coats many serious issues into a light-hearted 80s comedy shell. For my money, it’s one of the funniest and most broadly appealing films of its genre. There are plenty of dick jokes, some hot ass shots, boozin’ and pink Caddy cruisin’ for the guys, and yes, there’s even some Casual Sex. Not even AIDS can bridle the human sex drive for too long. (Brett H.)

Tale of the Tape:

8 out of a possible 10 inches.

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