Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sex Comedies
Sex if funny… and sometimes just plain goofy! What better way to mix the two with a good ol’ fashioned sex comedy. That is exactly what they do in the new WARNER BROS. movie HALL PASS. And since we here at WAMG appreciate a well done sex comedy, we bring you
Honorable Mention: THE SURE THING
In 1985 actor turned director Rob Reiner chose to make his second feature film (after the “mockumentary” THIS IS SPINAL TAP) a more conventional narrative comedy. Specifically the teen sex comedy, but with a twist. He would combine this with a “love on the open road” theme ala IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT. This forms the structure of THE SURE THING. ‘ Gib’ (John Cusack) hears from his California based buddy Lance (Anthony Edwards) that his blond neighbor is a “sure thing”. Embarking on this cross-country trek West, Gib acquires the up-tight Alison (Daphne Zuniga) as a traveling companion. She’s headed West to visit her boyfriend. The two bicker as they encounter many strange people (including a very square Tim Robbins) and have lots of wild adventures. They finally arrive in sun-drenched California, but things have changed after this trip. Alison’s reunion with her beau is lacking something. Gib finds that the blond beauty (Nicollette Sheridan) is all that Lance described, but he can’t connect with her. Looks like something happened on the way there between the two travelers. THE SURE THING’s main premise may be the pursuit of wild, carnal fun but the final message is about making that unexpected emotional connection with that special someone.
10. THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH
THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1955) was written and directed by Billy Wilder, one of the greatest comical filmmakers of all time. The film stars Tom Ewell as Richard Sherman (already a subtle play on the theme), a faithful husband and father staying behind in New York as his family goes away for summer vacation. The story is one of sexual tension, exacerbated by an unbearably hot summer and Sherman without air conditioning. At first, Sherman is ecstatic about his temporary slice of the bachelor life, but he vows not to succumb to the immoral extra-marital trends of his fellow married men… that is, until he meets “The Girl” played by Marilyn Monroe. Between the heat of summer air and the heat of the blond bombshell upstairs, Sherman struggles to maintain his faithfulness, inspiring hilarious antics and many unforgettable scenes.
09. ZACK & MIRI MAKE A PORNO
08. THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN
Let’s take a trip back to the 1980s. 1982 to be exact. Because of the success of the Porky’s series, teen films were going from the horror/stalker flicks to “hey guys, let’s get lucky” sex comedies. As Siskel and Ebert remarked on their old movie review TV show, ” The dead teenager has been replaced by the horny teenager”. On of the best remembered examples of this genre is THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN directed by Boaz Davidson ( and actually based on the Israeli “Lemon Popsicle film series ). Here we have the popular trio of randy young guys seen earlier in films like SUMMER OF ’42 and MY TUDOR. There’s the sensitive, shy hero ( the title virgin ) Gary, the brooding, worldly tough guy Rick, and the funny, chunky doofus David. Gary yearns for the good girl Karen ( BETTER OFF DEAD’s Diane Franklin ) while she drifts into the arms of Rick. Along the way Gary almost gives in to the charms of the quirky Rose while all three pay a visit to a very friendly mature buxom blond Carmela. By the end of the film the guys learn much about life the pursuit of love. Thanks to it’s 80s music and fashions this prototype “bromance” comedy can still deliver big laughs.
07. SOME LIKE IT HOT
Not only a great movie sex comedy, but according to some ( particularly the American Film Institute ) the greatest movie comedy ever. Billy Wilder’s SOME LIKE IT HOT centers on two struggling musicians, Joe ( Tony Curtis ) and Jerry ( Jack Lemmon ) who are accidental witnesses to the 1929 Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago. Fleeing the mobsters ( lead by veteran movie tough guy George Raft ), they find their only way out of town is to dress up as ladies and join an all girl band on a train bound for Florida. Things get even more complicated when the boys encounter the band’s lead singer Sugar Kane ( Marilyn Monroe ). In Florida, Joe decides to go from the drag disguise to a male millionaire persona to woo Sugar ( complete with a Cary Grant impression ), while Jerry attracts the charms of a real tycoon, Osgood Fielding III ( Joe E. Brown ). Hilarity ensues as the boys try not to yield to temptations as the gangsters and a G-man ( Pat O’Brien ) close in on the beach resort. Tony’s super suave, Jack’s a frenetic, leering riot, and Marilyn is at her sexy, voluptuous best. The film ends with perhaps the greatest final line of dialogue ever,”Well, nobody’s perfect!”. In the world of comedy cinema this comes very close to absolute perfection.
06. EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX… *BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK
Just before Woody Allen began his march towards huge critical acclaim with ANNIE HALL and a definite move towards more serious work he put out EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX* BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK. It’s an inconsistent but interesting 7-part anthology film that challenges sexual boundaries in an irreverent manner without ever feeling too outrageous or graphic. Four of the episodes really stand out: Lynn Redgrave as a horny Queen with a chastity belt and Woody Allen as the Fool trying to remove it; Gene Wilder and his affair with a sheep; the ‘What’s My Perversion?’ TV program; and, best of all, the final sketch where Woody is a sperm about to be fired into a woman on a first date. The “rampaging giant boob” segment of the film is a satire of monster movies that I hope is someday turned into a feature film.
PORKY’S (1982) was written and directed by Bob Clark. True, Bob’s the guy who brought us A CHRISTMAS STORY, so it may seem quite a reversal, but in fact it’s not. Bob’s talents often leaned toward the more taboo subjects. PORKY’S is just a different perspective of growing up in the 1950’s following a group of teenagers who set out to lose their virginity. What begins as a grand plan to become men, these high school boys find themselves the butt of the joke, harassed by sleazy strip club owner and his brother, the Sheriff. In an effort to redeem their self-respect, the boys strike out for revenge against their harassers. The film is a modern classic, funny and mildly raunchy, both reminiscent and ridiculous. While the film was cast with mostly unknowns, we are treated to an early — and steamy — performance from SEX AND THE CITY’s Kim Cattrall.
04. RISKY BUSINESS
RISKY BUSINESS is a funny film about your not-so-average teen problems that doesn’t stop short of exploring dark themes. It stars Tom Cruise in one of his best early performances and the role that shot him to stardom. A Chicago teenager, Joel (Cruise), is looking for fun at home while his parents are away, but the situation quickly gets out of hand and he gets more than he bargained for. A fun weekend goes south when his father’s prized Porsche accidentally dumps into Lake Michigan and Joel finds himself needing lots of money for the repairs. It’s the creative way he, his friend Miles and prostitute Rebecca De Mornay go about raising the cash that made RISKY BUSINESS one of the best films from 1983.
03. CARNAL KNOWLEDGE
CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (1971) is an often funny, but mostly sobering drama about the sex lives of two college roommates. Jack Nicholson is Jonathan, who hates women but can’t do without them. Nicholson is charismatic and smart in his role, showing the misery at the heart of a cynic. Art Garfunkel is Sandy, desperate for a chance to cop some action from the opposite sex and unable to stand up to his abusive friend. Ann-Margaret and Candice Bergen are the two central women in their lives. Cartoonist Jules Feiffer wrote the extraordinarily dark script and it was directed by Mike Nichols. CARNAL KNOWLEDGE was kind of a big deal upon its initial release, controversial and groundbreaking in its frank discussions of sex, but somewhat forgotten today. It’s one of the best films from the seventies, and a very realistic film about love, sex, relationships, lust, greed, and backstabbing your friends to get at their women.
02. 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN
After making a name for himself with the critically adored (but low rated) TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, Judd Apatow made his film directing debut with THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN based on the script he penned with star Steve Carell. While audiences may have been expecting a wild sex comedy romp they also got a sweet love story and a side plot that would later be dubbed a “bromance”. Carell plays a like-able, nerdy guy name Andy Stitzer. One night at a poker game with his Smart Tech co-workers (Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, and Seth Rogan) his secret his revealed. Andy’s gotten close many times, but he’s never “sealed the deal.” He’s mortified, while his pals decide to make it their mission to help him. They try to improve Andy’s chances with the ladies by taking him to get his opulent chest hair waxed (Carell insists this hysterical scene is real) and going to a speed-dating seminar. After many interesting encounters with several ladies (Leslie Mann as a drunken party gal, Elizabeth Banks as a frisky book store pick-up, and Jane Lynch as his very-eager-to help-out supervisor at work), Andy makes a connection with single mom Trish (Catherine Keener). But it turns out that she is in no hurry to rush into the physical stuff. What will Andy do? And what would happen if Trish finds out about his secret? THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN is an ode to the support system that guys will form when a buddy’s down and how finding the right partner can make your spirit sing and cause the clouds to part and “let the sunshine in.”
01. AMERICAN PIE
Ushering in the new millennium with a bang, AMERICAN PIE (written by Adam Herz and directed by Paul Weitz) set off the 1999 summer season with a new type of sex romp. With now recognizable stars such as Jason Biggs, Alyson Hanningan, and Shannon Elizabeth, prom night is quickly approaching for a group of young men and also the end of their high school experience. So, they make a pact to lose their virginity by prom come hell or high water. They explore options from foreign exchange students, friend’s mom’s, and even the unassuming band camp member. This film also has some of the most quotable lines from any movie that decade that one will never forget. It is hilariously shocking at times, funny as hell, and American as apple pie.