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

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Advertisement
Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

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.