Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I do like to attempt to step out my comfort zone and try to experience some different kinds of movies every once in a while which is why I dropped ‘Strictly Sexual’ into my cue. I’ve seen a few of these Southern California forlorn love romantic comedies before, such as ‘The Sex Movie’ or ‘Meet Market’, movies filled with people I could give less of a damn about doing stuff that I could give even less of a damn about, and then comes ‘Strictly Sexual’ which seems to be pretty much along the same lines. But not so fast my friends because even though ‘Strictly Sexual’ is billed as a romantic comedy and reading the synopsis one would think that this is a romantic comedy, what this movie seems to be to me is a fairly serious drama, with some light humorous touches here and there, about male and female relationships. And surprise, surprise… a damn good drama about male and female relationships.

Donna (Amber Benson) is a Hollywood screenwriter. No, she hasn’t sold anything yet but by luck of the draw she was born wealthy which gives her the freedom to live in her comfortable L.A. villa and write screenplays and not have a man. Her roommate and best friend Christi Ann (Kristen Kerr) is a fashion designer with her own shop and also doesn’t have a man. The aggressive free spirited Donna loves sex, the reticent and uptight Christi Ann is indifferent towards it. This particular evening Donna has decided she needs some lovin’ but only the plumbin’ because outside of that men serve little to no purpose and somehow she has convinced her shy conservative friend to roll with her to a bar and pick up some male prostitutes that they’ve heard about.

This introduces us to the cool but somewhat slow Joe (Johann Urb) and his intensely loyal but hostile best friend Stanny (Stevie Long). These cats are a pair of out of work construction workers from Queens who have moved to L.A. to try their luck, but have found the going rather rough. This particular fateful night, low on cash, they decide to go to an upscale bar, live and drink well for at least one night and then scoot on the bill.

So the boys meet the girls, the girls assume these handsome boys to be professional male escorts, the boys think the girls are free loving Southern California girls, the girls take the boys home and these people do what young people with a malleable set of moral codes do in these situations. Of course the next morning the boys are insulted that they were taken for whores and the girls are shocked that they let these random strangers violate them so fully until the shy Christi Ann gets an idea. You see Christi Ann, for lack of a better phrase, is a dead fuck. Oh she’s drop dead gorgeous and all but she just doesn’t know how to please a man or herself for that matter and thus she has convinced her buddy to allow these two down on their luck dudes to move into their cabana, rent free, for stud purposes only. Christi Ann figuring that her stud Joe might be able to show her the ways of proper lovin’ and Donna agreeing considering she and her stud Stanny have no such issues considering they rock the rafters every time they get down.

Well, as you might imagine, one can only have sex exclusively with one person for only so long before feelings start to grow, which complicates things greatly for this quartet in different ways for each of them. How they resolve these complications of theirs is another reason why ‘Strictly Sexual’ manages to be a cut above.

Directed by Joel Viertel working off a script written by co-star Stevie Long, the main thing that Long was able to with his story, at least in my opinion, was create characters who seem like they could actually exist in the real world. With real people talking to each other in a way that real people talk each other and dealing with situations in a way that I think normal people would react to a given situation, places ‘Strictly Sexual’ ahead of the game from the start. Admittedly our four stars are better looking than the normal people most of us know, at least people I know, but it is Los Angeles after all and we’re not going hate them simply because they’re beautiful.

Even though the main plot point of these lovely women paying these dudes for stud services is fairly ridiculous in the grand scheme of things, it was still presented in a clever and funny way. What this situation did in relation to the story is allow these characters to talk to each other in a way men and women normally wouldn’t relate to each other which provided for some great dialog. If you’re trying to ‘date’ some guy or some woman there are things that you’re simply not going to reveal to them but if from the outset you know this relationship is only physical with no foreseeable future, then there’s no real harm in exposing yourself to this person.

Even as the movie was wrapping itself up, the great writing and the very effective acting came into play. I was manipulated to the point where if one of our couples didn’t get together at the end I would’ve been really, really upset with this movie, and though I would’ve liked to have seen the other couple try to make it work out too, if they go their separate ways, I can get with that as well.

The only issue I had with this movie, and it’s a minor one, would be who has sex with the covers pulled up around their shoulders? Unless it’s like super cold. Even then, from what very little I know about the sex act, covers tend to get kicked off rather quickly baby. I understand our actresses had no particular desire to expose themselves to us since this really wasn’t that kind of movie, just making a casual observation is all.

That minor observation aside ‘Strictly Sexual’ is among the most entertaining relationship based movies I’ve seen in a long time. A long time. I don’t nearly enough about the craft of filmmaking to know why sometimes these things work and sometimes these movies fail miserably, but at least in my opinion this one here is an unqualified success.

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