Married People, Single Sex Part 2: For Better Or Worse

1994, Movie, NR, 100 mins

Review

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The MARRIED PEOPLE, SINGLE SEX series is pretentious soft-core porn, the Playboy channel as envisioned by Ingmar Bergman wannabes. PART 2 is not much better than the first film, but it could have been a whole lot worse.

John (Craig Stepp) and wife Carol (aptly named Kathy Shower) move to a new home across the street from close friends Valerie (Monique Parent) and David (Doug Jeffrey). Carol, who can't forgive John for an affair, gives him the cold shoulder and throws away his dirty magazines; this leads him into the arms of call girls, with whom he can't perform because he loves his wife too much. She finds out about them, however, when their credit card gets rejected (David has been charging his trysts and has managed to exceed the credit limit). Val and David are having problems themselves: she wants children and romance; he wants kinky sex. When David learns that Val has stopped taking the pill, he angrily dismisses her invitations to have sex as manipulative.

A third couple, Karen (Liza Smith) and Sam (Sam Schueler), are the mirror image of Val and David--he wants kids, she wants rough sex. Sam can't bring himself to spank his wife, so she seeks satisfaction with David, meeting at no-tell motels for midday naughtiness. Sam's mother (Patricia Place) is a Freudian nightmare of intrusion and parental pressure, who wants to live next door to Sam and Karen and persistently nags them about having kids. When David introduces a dominatrix (Julie Strain) into the mix, a crushed Karen reexamines her priorities. David leaves Val, admitting to having had a vasectomy two years earlier. John is laid off, and, taking the advice of call girls, suggests counseling for himself and Carol.

To its credit, the film refrains from suggesting that promiscuity is a solution to marital stress. However, its attempts to impose a "socially redeeming message" on the nudity, simulated sex, and titillating bondage sequences are laughable. Interrupting the stilted dialogue and skin shots are B&W talking head inserts that are supposed to shed light on the characters' inner turmoil: David thinks he's too screwed up to have kids, Karen came from an abusive home, etc. The bouncing hand-held camerawork, used to create a verite effect (a la Woody Allen's HUSBANDS AND WIVES), is nearly as mannered and irritating as the acting. The cast approaches the material with energy and enthusiasm, if not talent. Shower does the best work, although it's absurd for the statuesque pin-up to complain, without apparent irony, that real women can't measure up to the exaggerated sexual images in men's magazines. The exaggerated sexual images in this film are no closer to reality than daytime soap operas, and only slightly more arousing. (Extensive nudity, profanity, sexual situations.) leave a comment

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Married People, Single Sex Part 2: For Better Or Worse
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