The Austin Chronicle

The Oh in Ohio

Not rated, 88 min. Directed by Billy Kent. Starring Parker Posey, Paul Rudd, Mischa Barton, Danny DeVito, Miranda Bailey, Liza Minnelli, Keith David.

REVIEWED By Toddy Burton, Fri., Aug. 18, 2006

Sometimes it takes a movie to help us remember the sad and painful world in which we live. It's unfortunate, though, when that movie is intended to invoke rolling laughter but instead results in repeated sighs. While the impressive cast inspires a sense of hope, The Oh in Ohio's childish storytelling, paper-thin character development, and general unfunniness combine to make one bad movie. Posey plays Priscilla, an uptight corporate go-getter and wife to Rudd's sad-sack high school science teacher, Jack. The hook and obsession of the film is Priscilla's search for an orgasm (she's never had one). While the filmmakers are clearly attempting sexual farce for adults, the narrative development is so juvenile and the characters so unlikable that the attempt falls flat on its low-minded face. Needless to say, Priscilla's problem is presented as the singular root of her troubled marriage. Forget about the idea that this trouble might be the symptom of something else – that would require a sense of perspective. The couple argues; they seek counseling; they try, and fail, to generate that little thing called mutual pleasure. Without any sort of attempt at an ethical dilemma, Jack jumps into bed with his annoyingly feisty student (Barton) and rediscovers his manhood. But the plot really manages to travel into anemic realms as Posey's character goes on an obsessive quest for her climax. It's pretty painful to watch and ultimately feels a whole lot more like an episode of the Red Shoe Diaries than anything worthy of Posey or Rudd. Finally, DeVito, playing a widowed pool guy, introduces Posey to the joys of getting laid. And everyone's life is just grand! One of the many frustratingly shallow aspects of this frustratingly shallow film includes the conceit that sex solves all problems. Of course, the flimsiness could easily be forgiven if the movie were funny. It's not. A cast full of very talented actors goes completely wasted. DeVito and Posey have zero chemistry (big surprise), and Minnelli is just disturbing as a masturbation counselor. Ultimately, the awkward filmmaking and unfunny sex-equals-happiness theme combine to create a mind-numbingly bad filmgoing experience. Stay home and rent Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but Were Afraid to Ask. Gene Wilder falling in love with a sheep. Now, that's a sex comedy.

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