Feb 17, 2012

[Movies] Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006)

There's a geek habit of collecting things and having some sort of rule or basis for classifying them into a set or a series. Sometimes we talk about movie franchises, and those are automatically in a collection. Sometimes it's just because of a theme they all share in terms of their subject. Or sometimes it's the actor or the director involved. Whatever.

Geeking out over something isn't about being some social outcast who lives in your parent's basement, after all. It's about being really into something or downright passionate about something and celebrating what you love. A lot of people forget that and focus solely on the negative stereotypes that Hollywood tends to propagate.

In this case, this movie happened to be in our collection since my partner, Tobie, has a bit of a thing for collecting Tom Hardy movies. He's a good enough looking guy, I'll admit, although definitely more his type than mine. But he gets his Tom Hardy and I get my weird Ryan Reynolds adventures in movie history. And man, Ryan Reynolds has some pretty weird stuff in his portfolio, I'll admit that. So in this case, to each his own.

Not to say that this movie was bad or anything. In fact, it was surprisingly good, although not necessarily great. And that's not a bad thing.

Scenes of a Sexual Nature is a 2006 British ensemble comedy that might remind you of romantic comedies like Love Actually given how it follows multiple stories in a single movie. It was directed by Ed Blum with a screenplay by Aschlin Ditta.

There are seven different stories involved in this movie of seven different couples or unions of one form or another.You have husband and wife Jamie (Andrew Lincoln) and Molly (Holly Arid) who deal with the classic scenario of some young girl - this being Sophie (Eglantine Rembauville) catching Jamie's eye and Molly catching him staring. Then there are the widows Iris (Eileen Atkins) and Eddie (Benjamin Whitrow) who find themselves sharing a bench in the same park and getting into a conversation about to whom it had been dedicated. You have Anna (Sophie Okonedo) arguing with her boyfriend Ludo (Nick Sidi). After he storms off, she finds herself the subject of the attentions of one young Noel (Tom Hardy) who tries to cheer her up.

Elsewhere we have a gay couple, Billy (Ewan McGregor) and Brian (Douglas Hodge) also in the park discussing the differences in their sexual urges and notions of when fidelity is warranted. Elsewhere we have Peter (Adrian Lester) and Sara (Catherine Tate) who are in the process of finalizing a divorce despite them having a seven year old daughter Eve (Elle McKenzie). There's Louis (Mark Strong) and Esther (Polly Walker) who also meet in the park for romantic rendezvous of sorts. And lastly there's Gerry (Hugh Bonneville) and Julia (Gina McKee) who meet up for a blind date and enjoy some wine and cheese and some interesting conversation.

Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)
There is no "main" star really since each story gets more or less the same amount of screen time. Plus the various characters start crossing over into each other scenes whether it just means literally running through or the likes of Tom Hardy hitting on almost every female in the cast. And he's rather adorable as he does this since he's not exactly amazingly charming. In fact, he comes off as rather "adorkable" or something - which is probably why my partner must have enjoyed this movie too.

The stories are interesting enough on their own and I'm not sure if the movie really benefited from interweaving the various narratives into one. We might have benefited more from reducing the number of stories and focusing on some of the more "important" ones from a dramatic sense or perhaps the more amusing ones from a comedic perspective. I could totally have seen the story working around Tom Hardy's weird flirting style across several women more or even an expansion of the first story between Jamie and Molly.

And we totally didn't get to see enough of Catherine Tate! I'm not just saying this because I loved her on Docgtor Who, but more because she's a really funny actress who deserves more screen time!

Each story really had something going for it, but it never really got to explore things fully. So in the end the various plots just felt a tad half-baked and the whole movie didn't exactly come together very well. And it's a shame since obviously there was a lot of talent involved in terms of the cast and there was also some degree of chemistry, at least for some of the pairs.

Scenes of a Sexual Nature probably meant well in terms of its production period, but somehow fell apart from the weight of all the stories. It reminds me now how movies like Valentine's Day also self-destructed from the weight of its own cast. I'll still give the movie a passable 2 weird instances of Peter trying to find a decent spot in the park to pee out of a possible 5.

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