The Oh in Ohio (2006)
A surprisingly sincere and refreshing sex comedy
When I first heard about this film, I have to admit I was a bit
skeptical. Sex and the movies have always had a bit of a rocky history,
with some good results (Last Tango in Paris springs to mind) and quite
a few bad ones (Anybody remember Casual Sex?). To be honest, I wasn't
expecting the Oh in Ohio to be anything other than more of the same
Hollywood piffle, featuring low-brow penis jokes (or, in this case I
guess, vagina jokes) that predictably avoid any real thought into what
fascinates us as a society about sex: The joys, the painful
vulnerability, the almost magical awkwardness of it.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The Oh in Ohio has its share of both
penis and vagina jokes, but they're all offered with a refreshingly
non-puerile frankness. Very rarely has a film dealt with such a touchy
subject with such aplomb, all the while avoiding the pitfalls that
would make a film like this preachy, or exploitive, or boring. This is
a film that's not afraid to say a lot of "dirty" words and put forth a
lot of ideas that may make people uncomfortable. But the nice part is,
it doesn't seem to care that it's doing it. It doesn't wave sex in the
audience's face, saying "look how shocking this is," it just says what
it has to say and leaves the audience to laugh, or squirm, or whatever.
The performances are probably the best thing about this film. Parker
Posey, who we're used to seeing as the over-the-top characters in films
like Best in Show, works well as the tentative "woman on a journey of
self discovery". Paul Rudd plays his character lightly and likably,
avoiding a lot of the pitfalls that plague men in this kind of film.
Miranda Bailey's screechy, fun loving gal pal offers some of the
funnier moments in the film, and Mischa Barton is sexily unassuming in
her role (which could have, in my opinion, done with a little more
But it's the chemistry between Posey and Danny Devito that really gets
this film going. An unlikely pairing on the surface, they really do
well together, with Devito offering a performance that is somewhat
low-key, but utterly charming. There's a sincerity that comes through
that made me want to smile, and frankly, to see more of him on screen.
There were a few moments where the comedy falls flat (at least for me),
and some wondering where the characters are going during the course of
the film. The direction seemed a little detached at times, particularly
when dealing with a subject as intimate as it does.
All in all, The Oh in Ohio is what it is. It's not going to change the
world of cinema... but then again, maybe it could: if more films were
able to be as un-self conscious this one seems to be, maybe we could
all start having fun with sex again, rather than layering it in fart
jokes or squirreling it away in soulless pornography.
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