says, they ought to put a label on "poly" movies to warn us that "this movie contains idiots".
We start out with James and Heather. The spark seems to have gone out of their relationship. Heather comes from a rather progressive family, her parents have an open marriage and firmly believe that jealousy and possession have no place in romantic relationships. Heather and James tried to open their relationship once in the past, but when Heather went on her first date (that did not include sexual activity), James called up his old girlfriend for a one-night stand to help him ignore his intense jealousy about Heather on a date. Since that didn't seem to work, they closed up their relationship again, but are now looking for something else to "fix" things. Heather recommends attending a seminar given by a relationship counselor.
Next we meet Ellis and Renee. They are also bored with their relationship and seem to snip at each other rather easily, flying off the handle every time one says something. They take every statement the other makes in the worst possible interpretation and spend the entire movie being accusatory and suspicious of each other. They also attend the seminar.
The counselor advocates group sex as a method to "fix" a flagging relationship. She signs up our two couples for therapy and each couple goes to their respective sessions where the counselor can't seem to see that group sex for each of these couples is probably the worst possible thing they each can do. Everyone say it with me ... Relationship Broken, Add More People!
Next, we see James and Heather in a very typical situation - Heather's old boyfriend comes to town for a visit and James is jealous. James is so insecure that he cannot even be civil towards Sixpack (the boyfriend's nickname) on the car ride home from the airport. Of course, Sixpack is an arrogant prick, but James is not mad about that, James is instead seething with jealousy and suspicion regarding what he imagines will be happening later that night after he drops Heather and her old boyfriend off at Heather's apartment and James has to go home alone. Of course Heather starts to bristle at the constant jabs from James at what a dumbass Sixpack is. Here's a hint guys (and gals), even your partner agrees that a past partner is a dumbass, you can say so once, but harping on the fact only makes your partner feel defensive for having once chosen to date/marry that past partner. Don't pick on your partner for past mistakes - especially if he or she already agrees it was a mistake. So James provokes Sixpack into an argument even though Sixpack was mostly pretty friendly towards James (albeit a little dumb).
After some vicious insults in the car, Heather and Sixpack leave James to his jealousy, who then panicks and thinks this fight might just have pushed Heather into the arms of her old boyfriend afterall. So, his method of damage control involves breaking into her secured apartment building and sneaking into her apartment, where Sixpack, the former football star and current military man, tackles James, thinking him to be an intruder. Heather comes out of her bedroom (where she was sleeping alone) to see what the fuss is all about and rescues James.
Could James have been any more idiotic? Hmm, I've pissed off my girlfriend with my unreasonable and unfounded jealousy and now I'm going to stalk her when she explicitly told me to leave her alone, and break into her apartment with the intention of having a heartfelt, intimate discussion while her old boyfriend is sleeping on the couch in the next room. This doesn't sound like the most disasterous plan known to man?
So now James has
to sleep over because he has a concussion and Heather doesn't want him driving. But she's plenty pissed off.
Meanwhile, Ellis and Renee have been having issues of their own. Ellis also has a serious case of jealousy, only his is topped off with a massive load of machismo. Renee has to constantly placate him, reassuring him that she loves his penis and that she loves having sex with him. Seriously. In one discussion, they talk about the upcoming group sex therapy the counselor has suggested for them and the subject of fantasies comes up. Ellis admits to being turned on at the thought of watching Renee have sex with someone else. So Renee admits to being attracted to other women. Ellis immediately turns on her and accuses her of being "sick" and "perverted" because of her "homosexual" desires. While having this argument at a restaurant, the waitress appears to be quite friendly with Renee, who then seems to encourage her friendly overtures while then getting offended at Ellis' assumption that "friendly" implied "flirting".
Somehow or another, Renee ends up with the waitress' phone number and schedules a get-together. When Ellis finds out, he insists on coming along. They show up, the waitress offers marijuana, and while stoned out of their minds, Ellis interprets their totally platonic agreeableness as flirting and shouts at the waitress to keep her hands to herself because Ellis has the supercock and he won't let her get between them. I'm not paraphrasing, he actually says "I have the supercock and I won't let you get between us!" He uses the word "supercock" more than once.
Naturally, the waitress throws them both out.
Somewhere in there (I forget when exactly, their fights all seem to blend together), Renee and Ellis are fighting in the elevator and Renee shouts "I love your penis!", to which Ellis says "prove it!" and Renee responds by fervently kissing him, beginning a rather passionate bout of angry-sex. Because when you're pissed off at your partner, the thing you want to do most is fuck him, right? Sorry, but I do not have pity sex. I will not fuck someone just to reassure him. I will have sex because I want to have sex and have hopefully found a partner who also wants to have sex with me, but a pity-fuck is never a good idea for the long-term stability or reassurance of someone's ego. Then he's likely to wonder how much of the sex was a pity-fuck and if you really are attracted to him or just feel sorry for him.
Anyway, the morning of the scheduled group sex (keep in mind, neither couple knows who the other couple they're scheduled to fuck is), Renee and Ellis are taking a shower together and Renee seems to think his previous night's stoned proclamation about Renee being the woman he wants to marry and no one coming between them is now romantic and offers to cancel the group sex session. Unfortunately, Ellis now seems to be looking forward to it, so Renee agrees rather reluctantly for his sake.
Now we have probably the most awkward sex scene since Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
All 4 people arrive at the same time and wait for the same elevator. They all try to surriptiously scope each other out. Then, an old couple shows up and waits for the same elevator. Everyone has a moment of panic as they consider that it might be the old couple.
While in the elevator, everyone tries very hard not to look at anyone else. The old couple start bickering about whether the wife remembered to bring the rubbers and why the husband thought he didn't need to shower for the appointment. Less contained panic in the eyes of the two young couples. As everyone exits the elevator on the same floor, the old couple finally let it slip that they're there for a dental visit with a dentist on the same floor, the "rubbers" being a brand of gloves the old man prefers.
So now the two couples enter the counselor's waiting room. In a very awkward silence, they sit and wait. Finally, Heather breaks the silence by asking if Ellis and Renee are the other couple and expressing relief that they look so clean. Everyone looks around uncomfortably.
Finally, the counselor walks in, asks if they've introduced themselves, then leads them down the hall to another room. She opens the door and lets them in, closing the door behind them and leaving the two couples totally to their own devices, without a word of encouragement or instruction.
In silence, they four stare at each other, not sure what to do. Finally, Heather starts taking off her shoes. Then she kisses James. So Ellis and Renee look at each other as if to say "you wanna? I guess so" and begin kissing each other too. Eventually Renee turns around to start kissing Heather, but Heather pushes her towards James after only a brief kiss. So the couples swap partners.
Next we see a series of shots where each of the now-swapped couples is having silent and uncomfortable-looking sex across the room from the other. We never see a true group encounter, just two couples who happen to be having sex in the same room, all the time with James and Renee rolling their eyes towards Ellis and Heather, more interested in what their regular partner is doing than in what they are doing themselves.
The next morning, both couples wind up at the same restaurant, unbeknownst to each other. They discuss the previous night. Heather thinks the experience was great, she learned that she could actually orgasm and it wasn't a physical disability that has prevented her from having orgasms with James all this time. Unfortunately, James thinks that means that Heather doesn't really love him and he breaks up with her. It couldn't be that Heather does love him but James actually just sucks in bed - and sex isn't like a learned skill or anything that James could improve at with a little instruction. As if I didn't think James was the stupidist character ever, he goes and does this. Heather has been unable to orgasm, but her experience has not told her that James is a bad partner, it only tells her that it's possible and now she can start experimenting to figure out how to get an orgasm *with* James. But James decided long ago that love is exclusive and Heather's interest in other people means that she doesn't really love him, and her orgasm with Ellis the night before only solidifies his belief.
Renee and Ellis don't seem all that happy about the group sex and when Ellis goes to the bathroom, the waitress talks to Renee and expresses her wish to continue being friends (and maybe more) as long as Renee doesn't bring Ellis with her. Renee seems receptive. In the bathroom, Ellis runs into James and they have a fairly pleasant chat. James returns with Ellis to say hi to
Renee and for some reason, this makes Renee decide to throw away the waitress' phone number.
James goes back out to his patio table to discover that Heather ditched him.
I took two morals away from this movie. 1) If you're James and Heather, alternative relationships and sex outside of the primary are BAD. 2) If you're Ellis and Renee, sex with strangers will fix a relationship that is basically comprised of two people who don't like each other much.
The counselor should have her license revoked. Her character was the absolute worst example of a counselor possible. After only one session, she decided to match up these two couples when anyone could tell in the first five minutes of the session that neither couple was in the right frame of mind to successfully enjoy open relationships. Both men were being dragged into it kicking and screaming and both women think the way to fix their own relationships is to fuck a totally random stranger - that somehow this one night of meaningless, anonymous sex will fix their lack of communication, lack of chemistry, lack of common interests, the boys' insecurities, and their own emotional issues all at once.
Heather is the one character I truly felt for. I believe that she is that poor case of isolated poly. She is poly and doesn't know anyone else to help her, guide her, or even date her. Instead, she hooks up with this schmuck who is so deeply co-dependent that she can't even spend the evening with a male friend without him suspecting her of infidelity or fucking his ex-girlfriend in retaliation.
Ellis is equally as insecure as James, but his is exhibited in his retreat to machismo, where he has to prove he's King of the Castle, He of the Supercock. Apparently, it's his ability to penetrate his girlfriend that makes up his entire identity and the source of his entire self-esteem.
And Renee! An attractive, assertive, reasonably intelligent, sex-positive woman who, for some bizarre reason, feels the need to remain in a relationship with a man she has to placate on an hourly basis. She constantly panders to him, reassuring him of his manliness, refraining from exploring her own desires in deference to his bruised ego.
Jesus, I hated this movie and all the characters in it. Well, I didn't hate Heather, I felt sorry for her and I sorely wanted to jump in the movie, put my arm around her and tell her that she's not a freak and there's nothing wrong with her just because she wants to experience love without jealousy and posession.
And the sex scenes weren't even sexy! They were awkward and uncomfortable.
Don't watch this movie, it sucked, and not just from a poly standpoint. The characters were detestable and the writing was deplorable. I'm not sure if the acting was any good because the script they had to work with sucked big fat donkey balls.