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How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town

How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town is a pleasant surprise on a couple of levels.  It’s easy to see why this naughty-but-nice crowd pleaser has gathered acclaim;  even taking home the Best Feature award at this year’s Canadian Film Fest.

The film is directed and written by Jeremy LaLonde, which initially made me nervous.  In 2014, his modest rom-com Sex After Kids gave me a sinking feeling.  I wrote a negative review proclaiming the film to be “virtually charmless” and so unromantic that it’ll make you “want to grow a beard and live in the mountains”.  My biggest problem with Sex After Kids was that LeLonde had directed his actors to play up the yucks – to do and say things that only benefit the comedic effect and not the story.  It sunk any trace of authenticity.

What’s cool about How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town is that the filmmaker has taken that same comedic approach, applied it to a different context, and has shown that it does, in fact, work.  Touché, Mr. LeLonde.

How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town, a film about old-fashioned friends and acquaintances trying to be spontaneous by partaking in a friendly orgy, is a story about how various, vulnerable personalities react under pressure or to certain expectations.  While the group sex would allow some of the locals to explore themselves, it also provides an ulterior opportunity for some other participants (including selfish creative inspiration and deceptively expanding a family).

Because these characters have a past with each other (some with humiliating memories), there’s a lot at stake.  It would be normal for these people to struggle while they break the ice and sift through flat-out awkward exchanges.  This is why LaLonde’s knack of focusing on embarrassment and natural recovery works so well here.  The longer he focuses on a flaw, the more amusing it is – the wonderful performers know this as well.  And, boy, are there some big laughs in this film.

How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town, rich in its cinematography and honesty, is a ballsy sex comedy with a lot of heart.

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