Relax...it's Just Sex

"OK"

Relax...it's Just Sex Review


After a deliriously funny title sequence that mocks thedorky and dated educational film style of the 1950s, "Relax...It'sJust Sex" threatens for the next 30 minutes to become another cloneof "Jeffrey," seemingly the touchstone for cross-over gay cinema.

The titles begin with a black-and white-sequence explaining,tongue-in-cheek, certain terms that might not be familiar to any heterosexualsin the audience:

"This is a lipstick lesbian," a monotoned narratordeclares, then proceeds to explain the term while two women kiss. "See?that wasn't so bad," the narrator deadpans. Then it's, "Thisis a gym queen," as two oily, smooth and sculpted guys on the screen...

Hug.

"We hope this has been informative. Enjoy the show!"

Then cue the none-too-subtle sex scene (with two guys doinga lot more than hugging), accompanied a considerably less clinical voice-overabout the great spit or swallow debate, and I'm not talking toothpaste.

This transition is a hilarious commentary on mainstreamacceptance of the gay lifestyles, but the next couple of reels can't keepup as "Relax" visits some shopworn gay dramedy territory whilewe get to know a frustrated playwright and commitment-phobe in denial (MitchellAnderson), who spends an awful lot of time whining about the elusivenessof romance to his "fag hag" best friend (Jennifer Tilly).

Tilly is den mother to a troupe of thirty-ish cohorts whoeventually turn this picture into a respectable ensemble piece after itstops tripping over queer cinema cliches and gets cozy with the characters-- even if it does at times feel like "Friends" with mathematicallyprecise social and ethnic diversity.

There's Tilly, whose biological clock is ticking like atime bomb, and her Hispanic boyfriend with a serious case of wanderlustand only one airline ticket. There's the boyfriend's HIV-positive (somebodyhad to be) brother and his militant, black, AIDS-is-a-conspiracy boyfriend,an artist who paints Christ figures with IV needles substituting for thecrown of thorns.

For the sake of comedic irony there's a irksomely blissful,conservative Christian, gay preppie couple. And lets not forget the lesbianbed death couple, whose relationship is broken up by a man.

Turns out that's by far the film's most interesting story.While it starts weak with a breakup scene in which the eight-year lovers(Serena SCott Thomas and Cynda Williams) come across more like strangers,the love triangle that develops as a result is full of complex and forcefulemotion.

Williams ("One False Move") starts a relationshipwith sporty Lori Petty (finally playing a lesbian), who falls hard forher and becomes wildly insecure comparing herself to the beautiful andvery femme ex.

Meanwhile Scott Thomas toys with a hetro relationship and,in a twist played for great laughs, takes heat from her socialite parentswho had accepted their daughter's lifestyle for politically correct reasonsand now worry aloud, "What are we going to say to our friends as PFLAG?"

Written and directed by P.J. Castellaneta ("TogetherAgain"), "Relax..." struggles at times with poorly definedcharacters and a plot that lurches forward only when something traumaticor controversial happens (there's a shocking twist to a gay bashing episodethat's likely to spark some interesting debate).

But thanks to the grand efforts of the entire cast to fleshout their characters, the acting bridges the movie's gay cliches, fits-and-startsstory and occasional over-sincerity.

Petty is especially outstanding as the sporty dyke witha femininity complex. A performance like this in a mainstream film mightgarner Oscar buzz.

Also take note of veteran actor Paul Winfield ("TheTerminator," "The Women of Brewster Place," "MarsAttacks!") in a revealing cameo as Anderson's,um, fairy godfather -- an older friend with an understanding shoulder anda head full of reassuring wisdom.



Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 26th February 1999

Production compaines: TLA Releasing

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Vincey Sauris, Terrence 'T.C.' Carson as Buzz Wagner (as T.C. Carson), as Emile Pillsbury, as Megan Pillsbury, as Tara Ricotto, as Alicia Pillsbury, as Sarina Classer, as Auntie Mahalia, as Jared Bartoziak, as Javi Rogero, Timothy Paul Perez as Gus Rogero, as Diego Tellez, Gibbs Tolsdorf as Dwight Bergman, Kathryn Bundy as Marcia Fu, as Robin Moon

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.