Thursday, January 22, 2004

REVIEW: Sex And Zen (Rou pu tuan zhi tou qing bao jian)

* ¼ (out of four)
Seen 16 January 2004 at Coolidge Corner #2 (Midnight Kung Fu Madness)

I hestitate to write about this one because... well, quite frankly, because my mom might be reading this. But here goes...

Well, I'm never calling American Pie "raunchy" again. Consider: In American Pie, Alyson Hannigan breathily goes on about how one time, at band camp... until late in the movie where she shocks the main character (and the audience) by stating she'd used her flute as a sex toy. Meanwhile, in Sex And Zen, you've got a scene with two girls, one flute, and a pretty clear view of what's happening. Not completely unobstructed - it does manage an R rating rather than an NC-17. There are potential ratings board jokes to be made (it's evidently okay to show a penis not attached to anything else and undergoing terrible bits of slapstick, but cover it up when it's attached to a man).

I couldn't enjoy this movie, not because I was embarrassed, or because it wasn't funny at times, but because its violence made me uncomfortable. The movie is billed as a "sex comedy", but oftentimes the sex involved seemed to be on the border of spousal abuse and rape - and no matter what side of that line you eventually land, it's not fun to watch. I suppose there's an argument to be made that it's cartoon violence, but I didn't laugh, and was quite confused when it shifted into a more comedic tone right after some woman was practically attacked by her husband. My brain doesn't adjust that fast, and I don't think I'd want it to.

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