CATEGORIES Comedy, Independent, Theatrical Reviews, Festival Reports, Toronto International Film Festival, Cinematical Indie, Toronto Film Festival, Reviews, Cinematical
Young People F*cking is, indeed, the story of young people, well, f*cking. But it is not the explosively shocking film that the title suggests. After forays into real sex with Shortbus, many are quick to imagine that a film which uses the f-word in its title must also be shocking in its plot and execution. But it is not. Sure, there are jaw-dropping moments, but they are served through the writing and scenes, not how much skin hits the screen. Martin Gero's feature debut is simply an adult film about sex that, as he tells it, discusses what happens after those first forays -- the ones that have been well documented over the years in teen sex comedies.
The film follows the scenarios of The Friends, The Couple, The Exes, The First Date and The Roommates -- but not in an intricately-entwined, John Sayles sort of way. Each group of people explores sex on their own turf and do not interact with each other -- instead, they embody vastly different sexual experiences. However, they come together by hitting the truths of modern relationships and how both the mundane and risque often come from the same place.
Co-writer Aaron Abrams and Carly Pope (Popular) play The Friends, who, as one would imagine, decide one night that it is a good idea to sleep together. The Couple, as played by Kristin Booth and Josh Dean, have fallen into a lame, non-sex-having rut. The exes, Sonja Bennett (who you might remember as zombie girlfriend Tammy in last year's Fido) and Josh Cooke, have decided to meet up for a post-relationship date and are both looking to revisit the sex without the strings. And finally, the First Date follows a young woman (Diora Baird) who has scored a night with a notorious, foreign womanizer played by Callum Blue (Dead Like Me and The Tudors).
After setting up the players, Young People F*cking takes each group through the many aspects of a sexual encounter -- Prelude, Foreplay, Sex, Interlude, Orgasm and Afterglow. Each is talked about frankly, but not explicitly -- the sexual content is there, but the nudity is minimal for a film that centers solely on sex. What is refreshing about the movie is that while it uses some slap-stick gags, the writing and performances deliver it with class and restraint. It is this that saves the film and pushes it above the normal sex-themed fare. The dynamics are sometimes over-the-top, but they also stay firmly tied to truth -- the film doesn't fall into the desperate need to continually one-up the laughs. The moments speak for themselves, and that keeps things fresh.
This film is the sort that will get a good following and probably ride the waves of cult love for a while, but it is an indie Canadian comedy -- free of large production values and big-name actors. The writing keep things on track, but it's easy to imagine how irresistible each scene would have been if the characters oozed chemistry, rather than just doing a solid job with their roles. (The filmmaker noted that the budget didn't even allow for the actors to interact before they were cast -- they met right before shooting.) That being said, Young People F*cking is a fantastic film for its money, and it is also one that would be an instant classic for larger audiences if it had bigger means... but then again, the smaller scale also holds some solid indie charm.