One of the new central tenets in all romantic comedies (especially ones that purport to be sophisticated) is the presence of a highly neurotic protagonist, male or female. In many cases, this person is also Jewish. That means that Amy's Orgasm, the brainchild of actor/writer/director Julie Davis (California Hot Wax, I Love You, Don't Touch Me!) perfectly fits the bill. It also comes with some of the other unfortunate baggage of genre films including a low level of sparks between the leads, pat storytelling, and contrived scenes. In this case, it seems the only real reason that Amy Mandell (Davis) is Jewish is so that Davis can have her character seem even more neurotic by going to confession to talk to a priest.
Mandell is a best-selling author of a self-help book describing why women don't need to be in a relationship. The catch is, is that she desperately wants to be in one. Women across the country love her, and men hate her for her writings. She says she believes in everything she writes, but deep down, she doesn't. She proudly boasts (to her friends) that she has not had sex in four years, and is holding out until she finds the right man. Much of the dialogue in Amy's Orgasm is Davis pontificating a little less than cleverly her ideas about how women should live their lives. Some of it is played for laughs, and the rest is proto-feminist hoo-hah. Davis does give some general rules to Mandell's philosophy, but for the most part, it never becomes more than "women don't need men." By keeping it so simplistic, it makes the entire concept seem lame.
Of course Amy's publicist Janet (Caroline Aaron, Pumpkin, Never Again) books her on Matthew Starr's (Nick Chinlund, Training Day, Auggie Rose) radio show. Starr is Amy's polar opposite, a raging chauvinistic manly man. And of course this means the two will begin dating. Nick sees through Amy's facade, and realizes that somewhere inside is a woman who wants to be loved. Nick feels the same way, and although Amy can't quite see this, she does realize that unlike his radio persona, the real Nick has something going on upstairs, and the contradiction intrigues her. To her amazement, Amy enjoys spending time with Nick, although people being to brand her a hypocrite. Still, being the neurotic one at heart, she begins to overanalyze everything that happens, imagining the worst possible outcome for every scenario, and inevitably thinks herself out of a relationship. Remember, this is a romantic comedy, so something else inevitable will happen.
Davis is an amusing lead, but the Amy character is way too high-strung. In the end, it causes people to not want to see her on the screen. Amy's Orgasm also does the seemingly impossible; it transforms Chinlund from his supporting action movie roles to more of a romantic lead, which he pulls off decently. Davis is never able to present any new insights into the dating game, or present old ideas in a new or inventive way. Everything coasts along at a mildly humorous pace, pausing sporadically for something that is actually witty. One thing Amy's Orgasm does get right is the unending double standard between men and women, which Amy addresses at one point. When men sleep around, they are studs, and when women do the same thing, they are whores. Amy may not necessarily sleep around, but she is comfortable with her sexuality, and can, uh, take things into her own hands when necessary. With Matthew, she is not afraid to initiate or ask for things, and Davis does this all so that Amy comes across as nothing more than a confident woman.
|Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.|
|Not rated but contains language, minor nudity, and sensuality, and easy R.|
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