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A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

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Critics' Reviews

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'Orgy' Swings and Misses
Glenn Kenny, Special to MSN Movies

Group sex is a tricky proposition. I remember back in college ... well, OK, I'll spare you the story, except to say that whatever proceedings I might have been preparing to describe were ground to a halt by the repeated bleat "What am I gonna tell my shrink about this?" It's easy to see why some might see such awkwardness as the raw material from which comedy gold might be mined. Hence, "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy," an amiable, albeit strained and largely formulaic, will-they-or-won't-they-and-what-if-the-hot-potential-new-girlfriend-finds-out farce featuring a largely likable ensemble cast headed by "Saturday Night Live" regular Jason Sudeikis.

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Sudeikis plays Eric, who regularly host wild summer parties at his house in the Hamptons for his circle of friends (all of whom he's known since high school, natch). Only the house isn't his; it's his father's, and dad (Don Johnson, wasted, or rather I should say ill-used, in a cameo) is gonna sell the place this summer. Yes, Eric's the decent but directionless underachiever of the group. The fat, porn-loving drunkard of the group is played by Tyler Labine, and the uptight but deadly insecure yuppie is played by Nick Kroll. (And yes, eventually there is a who-has-the-most-impressive-equipment joke, and you can probably guess the answer now.)

Search: More on Jason Sudeikis

When the news of the impending loss of the summer place comes down, Eric decides to contrive a, um, blowout to end all blowouts, and happens upon the notion of the titular orgy. These 30-somethings are flummoxed by what they believe to be the sexual mores of these kids today on the one hand, and upset that they missed out on the counterculture's free love on the other. In case you're wondering if the picture goes there, indeed it does: "What happened to our generation? AIDS! Kids today are freaks. Our parents were freaks. We're a bunch of f---in' p--sies," one character wails. Thanks for that penetrating social analysis, thought I.

In any event, this deprived crew (whose female component includes Lake Bell as a therapist with her own relationship issues, Lindsay Sloane as a wallflower with body issues and Michelle Borth as a perfectly acceptable girl with Eric crush issues) are soon to learn that one doesn't have to be weak to be a little gun-shy about en masse intimacy, as a trip to a daunting and decidedly unhygienic swingers club demonstrates.

I would say "to hilarious effect" if it did indeed do that, but, alas, "Orgy," written and directed by television veterans Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck in their feature-film debut, didn't produce much more beyond tepid laughter for me. Say what you will about Judd Apatow, but his stuff really delivers more in terms of timing, pace, freshness of punch line pop-culture references, and overall daring. The most I laughed here was at Sudeikis' dancing during a wedding scene, which reminded me of his break-dancing schtick on the recurring "SNL" "What's Up With That?" sketch. While the cast -- which also features Martin Starr and Angela Sarafyan as a quasi-hipsterish duo that completes the circle of would-be orgiasts, Will Forte and Lucy Punch as a newly married couple who take umbrage at not being invited to the festivities, and Leslie Bibb as the aforementioned hot potential new girlfriend (who's also the salient real estate broker. Oy.) -- stay in there swinging, as it were, the comedic arousal factor remains, how to put it, largely limp.

Glenn Kenny is chief film critic for MSN Movies. He was the chief film critic for Premiere magazine from 1998 to 2007. He contributes to various publications and websites, and blogs at http://somecamerunning.typepad.com. He lives in Brooklyn.

For more movie news, follow MSN Movies on Facebook and Twitter.

Group sex is a tricky proposition. I remember back in college ... well, OK, I'll spare you the story, except to say that whatever proceedings I might have been preparing to describe were ground to a halt by the repeated bleat "What am I gonna tell my shrink about this?" It's easy to see why some might see such awkwardness as the raw material from which comedy gold might be mined. Hence, "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy," an amiable, albeit strained and largely formulaic, will-they-or-won't-they-and-what-if-the-hot-potential-new-girlfriend-finds-out farce featuring a largely likable ensemble cast headed by "Saturday Night Live" regular Jason Sudeikis.

Watch Our Original Video Series: "Go See This Movie"

Sudeikis plays Eric, who regularly host wild summer parties at his house in the Hamptons for his circle of friends (all of whom he's known since high school, natch). Only the house isn't his; it's his father's, and dad (Don Johnson, wasted, or rather I should say ill-used, in a cameo) is gonna sell the place this summer. Yes, Eric's the decent but directionless underachiever of the group. The fat, porn-loving drunkard of the group is played by Tyler Labine, and the uptight but deadly insecure yuppie is played by Nick Kroll. (And yes, eventually there is a who-has-the-most-impressive-equipment joke, and you can probably guess the answer now.)

Search: More on Jason Sudeikis

When the news of the impending loss of the summer place comes down, Eric decides to contrive a, um, blowout to end all blowouts, and happens upon the notion of the titular orgy. These 30-somethings are flummoxed by what they believe to be the sexual mores of these kids today on the one hand, and upset that they missed out on the counterculture's free love on the other. In case you're wondering if the picture goes there, indeed it does: "What happened to our generation? AIDS! Kids today are freaks. Our parents were freaks. We're a bunch of f---in' p--sies," one character wails. Thanks for that penetrating social analysis, thought I.

In any event, this deprived crew (whose female component includes Lake Bell as a therapist with her own relationship issues, Lindsay Sloane as a wallflower with body issues and Michelle Borth as a perfectly acceptable girl with Eric crush issues) are soon to learn that one doesn't have to be weak to be a little gun-shy about en masse intimacy, as a trip to a daunting and decidedly unhygienic swingers club demonstrates.

I would say "to hilarious effect" if it did indeed do that, but, alas, "Orgy," written and directed by television veterans Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck in their feature-film debut, didn't produce much more beyond tepid laughter for me. Say what you will about Judd Apatow, but his stuff really delivers more in terms of timing, pace, freshness of punch line pop-culture references, and overall daring. The most I laughed here was at Sudeikis' dancing during a wedding scene, which reminded me of his break-dancing schtick on the recurring "SNL" "What's Up With That?" sketch. While the cast -- which also features Martin Starr and Angela Sarafyan as a quasi-hipsterish duo that completes the circle of would-be orgiasts, Will Forte and Lucy Punch as a newly married couple who take umbrage at not being invited to the festivities, and Leslie Bibb as the aforementioned hot potential new girlfriend (who's also the salient real estate broker. Oy.) -- stay in there swinging, as it were, the comedic arousal factor remains, how to put it, largely limp.

Glenn Kenny is chief film critic for MSN Movies. He was the chief film critic for Premiere magazine from 1998 to 2007. He contributes to various publications and websites, and blogs at http://somecamerunning.typepad.com. He lives in Brooklyn.

For more movie news, follow MSN Movies on Facebook and Twitter.

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