The last thing I expect to feel during “riotous and outrageous sexual exploration” is snooze-inducing boredom. That was the case with My Awkward Sexual Adventure, an unadulterated Canadian sex comedy that sets up an array of absurd situations only to do nothing but fumble around.
I hate pointing all the blame towards one individual, but with My Awkward Sexual Adventure, it’s tough not to do that when Jonas Chernick is the source of all that goes wrong. There’s no way around the problem.
Chernick wrote the screenplay and stars as the lead, Jordan Abrams. Both his performance and his writing are equally as dull and mumbly and work wonders to drive any interest away from the average movie goer.
After a cruel break-up caused by sloppy intimacy, Abrams travels to Toronto where his friend Dandak (played by a drastically underused Vik Sahay) is open to showing him the ropes of being a ladies man. However, Dandak gets sidetracked by “the perfect woman” and Jordan believes there’s still hope between him and his ex.
Jordan’s stubbornness towards his crumbled relationship is the initial red flag that our ne’er-do-well hero is unlikeable. He tries to convince random women to take cell phone pictures with him to send as jealousy texts, he’s clingy, and unusually socially inept. In any other movie, some of Jordan’s schlepping mannerisms could be deemed as authentic or quirky. Here, he’s absolutely irritating.
A run-in with a kind hearted attractive stripper named Julia (played by Emily Hampshire) sparks a quest. Jordan will help Julia with her finances if Julia will be his “sex Yoda”.
Sexual situations are established as lessons, and while some of them take a while to get going, a few ensue predictable but surprising small laughs. There’s a ridiculous scene in a massage parlour that gets out of hand (and into the masseuse’s eye), a night of cross-dressing, and a silly play-by-play about cunnilingus while Jordan practices on a cantaloupe.
But, what follows are long stretches where the story plods along as Chernick attempts to add more depth to his characters – trying to make his gross-out flick into a more sophisticated romantic comedy. Some screenwriters are able to do this without breaking a sweat, but Chernick’s more exaggerated scenes and slow talky sessions come across as wildly uneven when paired together.
The production counts on Sean Garrity’s direction to liven up the material. Garrity’s showed lots of promise in his slow burn thriller Blood Pressure that debuted earlier this year in a limited release. Here, his bursts of creativity add to the unevenness even more. The quick time lapses and musical cues stick out like a sore thumb next to the meandering talks. He’s a well-equipped filmmaker, but this was the wrong project for his talents.
Also earlier this year, TIFF named My Awkward Sexual Adventure as one of Canada’s top 10 films of 2012. Maybe, they mistakenly took the film’s dry pace, the mumbled performances, and rawness for an art house drama with occasional shocks. But, really, I was only shocked by how bored I was with the comedy. In this day and age, high school Sex Ed. classes are funnier, more ambitious, and more exciting than My Awkward Sexual Adventure.