MOVIE REVIEW : ‘Casual Sex?’--Abstinence Is More Attractive


Think that “Casual Sex?” (citywide) might interest you? Think again. Except for the credits songs, the only really good thing about this movie is the way it proves you don’t have to be a man to make lewd, preposterous comedies.

The movie is set mostly at a swinging bucolic health farm where good buddies Stacy (Lea Thompson) and Melissa (Victoria Jackson) journey in pursuit of aerobics and eros and where they encounter a needle-brained rock singer (Stephen Shellen), a bouncy exercise instructor (Jerry Levine), a macho bozo from Jersey (Andrew Dice Clay) and various other neurotics, lechers, louts and extras in tight trunks.

The movie is another example of that onerous ‘80s staple, the “daffy, goofy, sex-crazed guys” comedy--though here the parts of the bimbos are played by men, and the traditional guys’ roles by women. Instead of acting daffy, goofy and sex-crazed, the women are compassionate, supportive and sex-crazed.


“Casual Sex?” began life as the hit Groundlings review “Casual Sex,” created by writer-actresses Judy Toll and Wendy Goldman as a series of riffs on the ins and outs of modern promiscuity. In the more jittery post-AIDS age, they’ve changed the title to “Casual Sex?” The producers, ramming the point home further, have commissioned a number sung by Kid Creole and the Coconuts called “(No More) Casual Sex!”

You wonder why these film makers--director Genevieve Robert and executive producer Ivan Reitman--wanted to do the movie in the first place.

If the script is dubious, the direction matches it. The cast is less directed than exploited. Lea Thompson crinkles constantly; Victoria Jackson does her whining bimbo bit; Andrew Dice Clay reprises his crass-macho stand-up comedy character; Mary Gross pops in and out like a guest hysteric, and Jerry Levine looks so much like Barry Manilow or Martin Short the three might consider a joint act: a New Age Three Stooges routine where they swat each other with mystic crystals. Meanwhile, the best answer if anyone asks you out for an evening of “Casual Sex?” (MPAA-rated: R) is a vow of abstinence.