the sex monster (1999)

Ah, sweet mistress Procrastination. It’s a Friday night and I’m home alone, feeling blissfully inept at applying to something called the Princess Grace Fellowship. So what better way to while away an hour and forty-five than cue up a little IN action. What’s on my plate tonight? I’ll tell you – The Sex Monster, starring my old fantasy flame, Mariel Hemingway. Last seen (by me) in Personal Best, time has only done magical wonders for the tawny blond, elevating the baby-voiced icon into some MILF-transcendent category due utter homage. Yes, rum does make me hyperbolic, but we’re out of Old Overholt, so there you go.

Laura (Hemingway) is a devoted wife/part-time sculptress and in this film that means we see her prepare a lot of salads and occasionally invite people into a studio. Her husband Marty is a stressed-out developer, obsessed with getting Laura to take her salad-tossing out of the kitchen and into the bedroom – with Marty and a plus-one. That is, a lady plus-one. After a serious amount of coaxing, a surplus of liquor and a late-night swim the couple finds itself in bed with Didi, a sweet piece of tail and Laura’s coworker at the hair salon where she works. Initially tentative, Laura’s eventually munchin’ like a pro, putting Marty way to shame and sending Didi into a serious conundrum. Initially Marty is stoked, but his enthusiasm quickly wanes when he discovers his wife is a. a champ and b. not gonna be shy about going back for seconds. And thirds. And fourths. Laura turns out to be a serious box nymph. Unfortunately for us connoisseurs, all the action goes down (never has the phrase been so appropriate) right under our noses in a series of shots where Marty comes up gasping for air only to see his wife plugging away like an Olympic diver. I wish more women knew their potential.

If all of this makes you feel a little skeptical, you’re not off. Stand-up comic Mike Binder (Marty) writes, directs and stars, even convincing a lesser Baldwin to make a lengthy cameo. What’s his investment in the cause? I’d tell you more, but actually fell asleep thirty seconds into my perusal of the jokeman’s website: I was able to glean that he wrote a screenplay for Tim Allen, easily enough information to activate my sad clown face, and won best actor and best film awards at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen for Sex Monster. What’s the deal? Would Mike be sort of fun to hang out with at a ski resort? Is this film a positive way to deal with heterosexual male insecurity? Why do I care? Is anyone reading this?

Bottom line, the film turns daffy in the last twenty. Some poor, repressed side character gets left tied up in Laura and Marty’s bed after she tries to get in on the wife honey, and (SPOILER) the couple triumphs over polyamory, standing rock solid after an extended sequence of mediocre physical comedy in their backyard. How I love me some slapstick! How I love me some Mariel. And I really gotta get back to this application, so you watch and be the judge. Princess Grace is calling.


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