Sex and Death 101

April 3rd, 2008 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

Not a bad idea, this self-described black comedy depicts a man (Simon Baker) who receives an email with a list of 101 womens’ names. He soon works out it’s a list of all the women he’s ever — and will ever — sleep with. Trouble is, he’s getting married in only days.

One of thousands of emails sent because of a clerical error in some Kubrick-styled office that’s apparently supposed to be a stopover to heaven, the message sets the man off on an obsessive quest to meet every one of the girls, who he does indeed get jiggy with — some of them not what he expected. Things hit a snag when he meets the woman of his dreams, but she’s not in the list.

And the whole time this is going on, there’s a femme fatale serial female (Winona Ryder, with not nearly as much currency in Hollywood these days but still gorgeous) stalking the streets and making the news.

How the stories of these two characters will entwine is a complete mystery, as is most of the rest of the film. One of the inhabitants of the heavenly mid-world is nothing like the other two, a frat boy constantly making blowjob jokes. Instead of getting lucky with the centrefold model (Sophie Monk), the hero accidentally shags her infirm grandmother.

Neither element has much to do with anything, and Sex and Death 101‘s full of them; curious, ill-fitting asides that make you think it was originally going to be a short film and they had to throw in everything they could come up with to fill the running time.

Tonally it’s all over the place, with scenes, moods, characterisations and pacing all over the place, and without the presence of Simon Baker in every sequence, you’d think you were watching eight different movies at once.

There’s a good idea for a black comedy in there somewhere, but it’s impossible to see in this mess.


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