Film Reviews

AMY’S ORGASM

By • Aug 23rd, 2002 •

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Released by Magic Lantern / Not Rated / 85 minutes.

After suffering through the slings and arrows of some outrageously unfunny films, Amy’s Orgasm is pure comic relief. It’s also a most welcome addition to your local cinema—that is if this small indie will even turn up there. With no big names upfront or requisite big studio backing, it’s unlikely the miniscule budget would allow for the stratospheric amount needed to promote it.

Nevertheless, it’s a must-see! (Even after a second viewing, I wasn’t bored for a millisecond.) Consider Amy a romantic comedy akin to 1989’s When Harry Met Sally, updated to the millennium but told through a woman’s perspective. And though it’s short (only 85 minutes), it virtually careens through the socially satiric gamut of a thoroughly modern gamin’s road to love.

Writer/Director/Star Julie Davis is Amy, and in voiceover tells you just who and what she is: 29, Jewish, rich and famous because she’s written a hugely successful self-help book for women: “Why Love Doesn’t Work.” Despite admitting she’s “misguided, horny and a hopeless romantic,” she sticks by her credo: “For a man, marriage is the end of desire; for a woman, sex is the end of romance.”

So caveat emptor. Amy’s on a crusade, telling women how to feel complete without men in their lives, and cautioning them not to do “it” until they legally say “I do.” Problem is she intellectualizes everything, while privately telling us she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Another problem: She also hasn’t had sex in 4 years, so when she trades on-air barbs with Matthew Starr (Nick Chinlund), a deliciously smarmy radio shock jock on the order of Howard Stern, she begins to lose all her reserve. And melt. Him too. Her ivy League banter and good looks intrigue the never-married lecher (whose interests till now have consisted of brainless bimbos and size of boob implants), and against all common sense and warnings by friends and family, they begin a smartass courtship that ends up … well ….

You’ve seen it all before: the chaste chase. Will she or won’t she? But sparks—and sparkling dialogue—fly fast and furious as both love and lust try to triumph uber alles.
Though relative unknowns, the well-chosen cast more than ably aids and abets this flight-of-fanciful flick. Davis is an appealing combo of wit and wiles, with enough fragility to make her sympathetic to the not-yet-wed set. Chinlund’s brazen satyriasis is softened by a believable sensitivity. As Amy’s lesbian publicist, Aaron is memorable as a Linda Tripp lookalike, who tries to insinuate her anti-male proclivities on her client. (To no avail, might I add.) And Whitfield and Bransford, as her buddies Don and Elizabeth (cf the Carrie Fisher/Bruno Kirby pair in When Harry Met Sally) acquit themselves with skill and humor as her conscience and guides. (When Amy emphatically tells them “Sex is the logical outgrowth of love,” Don retorts “Someone has to get laid.”)

A scene-stealing, scintillating touch is given by Jeff Cesario as an ingenuous priest who’s privy to all of Amy’s most intimate sexual thoughts in the confessional. (Okay, Amy’s Jewish, but she says: “It’s free.” He says: “Oy, I can’t take it any longer.”) His role as recipient of her prurient daydreams is carried out with aplomb. It’s a plum role and he’s priceless.

The tour de force by the multi-faceted, facile Davis is on the same order—but more polished than her last film, 1998’s I Love You, Don’t Touch Me. She proves here she’s no flash-in-the-pan. Or closeup.

Amy is amiable enough to satisfy the most hard-hearted cynics among us. And though you might have to look hard to track it down on the cinema circuit, it’s well worth the detour.


Credits:
Writter/Directed by Julie Davis.
Producers- Julie Davis, Fred Kramer, Gina Meyers;
Photography-Mark Mervis, Goran Pavicevic; Music Supervisor- Jonathan Weiss;
Editor-Julie Davis, Glenn Garland;
Production Design-Carol Strober;
Costume Design: Robert Constant;

Cast:
Stars Julie Davis (Amy),
Nick Chinlund (Matthew Starr),
Jeff Cesario (Priest),
Mitchell Whitfield (Don),
Jennifer Bransford (Elizabeth),
Caroline Aaron (Janet),
Mark Brown (Mike),
Stephen Polk (Bill).

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