Friday, June 22, 2012

PLAYTIME (1994)

Written by a woman (Mary Ellen Hanover, who will represent the sex tastes and fantasies of all womankind in this review) and you can tell in oh so many ways.  BEST FRIENZ Lindsey (Jennifer Burton) and Geena (Monique Parent) sit by the pool while their husbands are off golfing because that is what boys do.  They are having Peg Bundy problems in 1994, namely that their husbands won't penetrate them frequently enough!  But talking about such things is problematic because of the Wall of GROCE and AWKWARD, so they need a little liquid courage to really get started: MIMOSAS.  Way #1 in which you can tell that a woman wrote this!


After they get their breakfast lady drunks going, the girls share fantasies of the sort you've seen in upteen boy-marketed porns--the traveling salesman who is seduced by the undressed housewife.  Suddenly, a POOL BOY appears (for real!).  The girls go into the house and simultaneously masturbate to him.  In so doing, they have crossed a line that they will walk the rest of the their lives.


Dang, there's a lot of masturbation in this picture.  Someone who only studied women through viewings of PLAYTIME could conclude that lady sex is fundamentally based in narcissism and attention-seeking.  While it's still just girl-on-girl, the talking NEVER stops and it's mostly stuff like "Your breasts are so firm!" and "Your body is so gorgeous!"  Compliments are the gas that drives the motor of desire.  Even after sex of all types, there is discussion galore, only about feelings and important life lessons.  "No matter what happens, we have to stay friends!"  So.  Much.  Talking.


Inevitably, the husbands finish golfing (and presumably beating off simultaneously to a girl caddy) and get involved in the action.  Geena's husband Brad looks like and has the sex drive of Mitt Romney, so Lindsey's husband Joe is the first to get to live every man's dream of watching women masturbate.  He hides in a closet while the two bffs she-bang.  All this fornication happens in a plethora of supposedly opulent settings, like houses with frescoes by dead Italians and ski lodges.  Oh yeah, Brad and Joe are law partners, too.


THIS IS THEIR LAW OFFICE.  Note the no decorations at all on the wall, very reminiscent of an insane asylum.  Also, the blonde secretary answers the phone, "Law office!", similar to the generic cans of FOOD and BEER from REPO MAN.  As I've said, I'm a big fan of softcore pretending to display wealth and failing because of budget.  So I approve of all of this.  Brad eventually finds out about the other three's scandy ways and doesn't react well.  Or like a man would really react, really.  "I got hurt, me, I'm hurting RIGHT NOW!"  Keep in mind his super-emo dialogue, we'll get back to it.  Lindsay feels bad about her whorish ways breaking up her best friend's marriage, so she goes to Brad's office to apologize like this:


But!  Lindsay's husband comes in at that exact moment, you guys, and it's all a big mess!  The remainder of the film involves some sex with heartfelt discussion after and marriages being restored.  It drags, but there are gems embedded, like Joe's dialogue ("I mean, all I did is let his wife get me off!").   


My favorite scene is the final confrontation between the now-rotated couples (Joe and Geena got drunk and fucked in some shrubbery to get back at their spouses).  The best way is to just give you the dialogue:

GEENA: Joe really liked my big breasts.
LINDSAY: You know that bothers me!
GEENA: Nya nya nya nya, my breasts are bigger than yours, my breasts are bigger than yours!

Seriously.  Adultery is tearing their marriages apart and these ladies are having a competitive argument about their own breasts.  Do you hate women yet?


Come to find out, Brad has good reasons for being freaked out about unorthodox sexiness.  When he was 18, his dad married a stewardess who "told me other things about girls...about periods...about not getting pregnant."  She also brought her stewardess friend home to play naked football in his room, although "they never let me have intercourse with them."  I ask you, reader, does this sound like a human being speaking?


The film resolves via a four-way...teleconference, in which Brad delivers his estrogen-man coup de grace: "Will you just listen to me, for Christ's sake, without interjecting all your little comments?  I hate that!  This is my conversation, I'M TALKING!"  Don't worry, they get it all worked out and everyone becomes a couple again!

This is where I contradict a lot of the things I said.  I was excited to watch this when I saw that a woman wrote it, since I thought it would be interesting to see what kinds of situations a female would include in a sexy film.  BUT I really don't think you can take PLAYTIME as indicative of lady wants generally.  Some women certainly seem to like it, as the IMDB reviews prove ("They go just as far as they need without being vulgar", "predominantly a story of loving and straightforward sex between two sets of happily married, if stuck in a sexual rut, couples").  But you can't take even a large sample for the whole, otherwise you'd be a racist.  I'm sure that this movie would strike the right chord with a certain kind of lady, but I'm also sure that lots would find the whole woman-masturbation as apex of sex thing kind of weird and ridiculous, just as I did.  The last scene in the movie is two boys watching two girls masturbate!  

PLAYTIME is definitely on the soft side of softcore and IMO a little too long and drawn-out to really recommend.