Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: 10 Rules for Sleeping Around

As dimwittedly obvious as its title, can it even be called a comedy if there are no laughs?

April 3, 2014

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1397578-10_Rules_Md.jpg
Sex comedies would seem to be an easy natural for the screen, especially in this anything goes/Internet-rampant age, and lord knows there have been many attempts. The good ones—like the still terrific Shampoo, and maybe bits and pieces of the American Pie series—remain as scarce as hen's teeth, however, for in this country, still so weirdly puritanical as well as ever-prurient, the right balance of salaciousness and wit too often tumbles into mere vulgarity and true offensiveness. Unfortunately, 10 Rules for Sleeping Around is but one more gross American schlock-fest which commits the cardinal and all too common sin of being so abysmally conceived and handled that it isn't even sexy.

The film centers around two friendly couples: Ben (Chris Marquette) and Kate (Tammin Sursock), who are about to be wed, and married Vince (Jesse Bradford) and Cameron (Virginia Williams), who tell them that their open relationship is the glue which holds them together. Those titular rules are key, however, and they include everything from "no blood relatives" to that ultimate no-no, saying "I love you" to a lover. The more conservative Ben and Kate are at first shocked and then very curious and they get the chance—sort of—to test the steamy waters during a Hamptons getaway, culminating in a wild party thrown by media magnate Jeff Field (Michael McKean), whom Ben and Vince are trying to interest in their e-publishing business.

Writer-director Leslie Greif desperately throws everything into his would-be hilarious mix, from a pair of Jersey Shore bimbos who seemingly just want to catch herpes from anyone, anywhere, to a hapless younger, would-be inamorato for Cameron who, caught in flagrante delicto, spends the entire film naked and often licked by a horny dog, to, most groan-inducingly, a male designer who pretends to be gay (a noxious device that was hoary in The Gay Deceivers, back in 1969). It's exhausting to watch and entirely numbing to the brain and, in the bad old Hollywood cop-out tradition tiresomely familiar from Doris Day epics and the like, reveals that Cameron is a good girl after all, only pretending to be slutty and playing along with her man's needs. Yes, the film manages—surprise!—to be offensive to women as well as every type of sexuality.

Poor Jesse Bradford has been one of the screen's most appealing juveniles for ages, and now as an adult acquits himself professionally enough and somehow emerges with dignity. Chris Marquette, looking somewhat like Miles Teller's brother, is innocuous, as are the interchangeably pert—although blonde and brunette—Sursock and Williams. But Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Reno 911”) is an always Joan Blondell-like, welcome sexy comic presence, and shows more flair than anyone else in the cast, even playing a snippy British authoress.

Click here for cast & crew information.


Film Review: 10 Rules for Sleeping Around

As dimwittedly obvious as its title, can it even be called a comedy if there are no laughs?

April 3, 2014

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1397578-10_Rules_Md.jpg

Sex comedies would seem to be an easy natural for the screen, especially in this anything goes/Internet-rampant age, and lord knows there have been many attempts. The good ones—like the still terrific Shampoo, and maybe bits and pieces of the American Pie series—remain as scarce as hen's teeth, however, for in this country, still so weirdly puritanical as well as ever-prurient, the right balance of salaciousness and wit too often tumbles into mere vulgarity and true offensiveness. Unfortunately, 10 Rules for Sleeping Around is but one more gross American schlock-fest which commits the cardinal and all too common sin of being so abysmally conceived and handled that it isn't even sexy.

The film centers around two friendly couples: Ben (Chris Marquette) and Kate (Tammin Sursock), who are about to be wed, and married Vince (Jesse Bradford) and Cameron (Virginia Williams), who tell them that their open relationship is the glue which holds them together. Those titular rules are key, however, and they include everything from "no blood relatives" to that ultimate no-no, saying "I love you" to a lover. The more conservative Ben and Kate are at first shocked and then very curious and they get the chance—sort of—to test the steamy waters during a Hamptons getaway, culminating in a wild party thrown by media magnate Jeff Field (Michael McKean), whom Ben and Vince are trying to interest in their e-publishing business.

Writer-director Leslie Greif desperately throws everything into his would-be hilarious mix, from a pair of Jersey Shore bimbos who seemingly just want to catch herpes from anyone, anywhere, to a hapless younger, would-be inamorato for Cameron who, caught in flagrante delicto, spends the entire film naked and often licked by a horny dog, to, most groan-inducingly, a male designer who pretends to be gay (a noxious device that was hoary in The Gay Deceivers, back in 1969). It's exhausting to watch and entirely numbing to the brain and, in the bad old Hollywood cop-out tradition tiresomely familiar from Doris Day epics and the like, reveals that Cameron is a good girl after all, only pretending to be slutty and playing along with her man's needs. Yes, the film manages—surprise!—to be offensive to women as well as every type of sexuality.

Poor Jesse Bradford has been one of the screen's most appealing juveniles for ages, and now as an adult acquits himself professionally enough and somehow emerges with dignity. Chris Marquette, looking somewhat like Miles Teller's brother, is innocuous, as are the interchangeably pert—although blonde and brunette—Sursock and Williams. But Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Reno 911”) is an always Joan Blondell-like, welcome sexy comic presence, and shows more flair than anyone else in the cast, even playing a snippy British authoress.

Click here for cast & crew information.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Tracks
Film Review: Tracks

Ably supported by Adam Driver, Mia Wasikowska commands the screen in John Curran’s superbly photographed drama based on a true story. More »

The Zero Theorem
Film Review: The Zero Theorem

A noisy, hyperkinetic, visually gorgeous spectacle that tackles the mother of all big questions–the meaning of life—Terry Gilliam's latest is sometimes frustrating and occasionally outright goofy, but it's never dull. More »

Art and Craft
Film Review: Art and Craft

Documentary portrait of the artist as a disturbed man, but one who is overwhelmingly endearing, functioning and talented—and whose métier happens to be art forgery. This smartly produced and constructed art-themed art-house entry delivers a canvas of caper, comedy and delightful curiosities that engage and provoke some serious thought. Like the hero’s forgeries, it deserves a close look. More »

Pump
Film Review: Pump

Thought-provoking documentary about the lunacy of only fueling cars with gasoline loses credibility the more it turns into a single-minded broadside. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

This is Where I Leave You
Film Review: This Is Where I Leave You

Siblings bond, fight and face new problems after the death of their father in an ensemble dramedy based on the best-selling novel. More »

Walk Among the Tombstones Review
Film Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones

A grim ’70s-style detective story whose narrative failures are overshadowed by evocative turn-of-the-millennium anxieties and a world-weary tough-guy performance from Liam Neeson. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here