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Worth A Look: 25.93%
Pretty Bad: 7.41%
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4 reviews, 3 user ratings

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Oh in Ohio, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Oh, Sweet Mystery Of Parker Posey . . ."
3 stars

The premise of the new indie comedy “The OH in Ohio” is so promising and appealing that it almost seems as if it couldn’t fail. After all, wouldn’t you at least be intrigued by the notion of a film in which a frigid Parker Posey finally learns to let her erotic freak flag fly with the help of her trusty vibrator and, later, the amorous attentions of Danny DeVito? If you have any taste or wit about you, you are probably thinking that such a film would be a must-see. And yet, despite such a premise, a game cast and some very funny moments, the film eventually mirrors the bedroom problems of its lead character–it tries and tries and just when you think it is about to go over the top, it just fades away into a sense of vague disappointment.

Posey plays Priscilla, a woman who seems to have it all–a rising career as a PR executive, a nice home and a seemingly perfect marriage to schoolteacher Jack (Paul Rudd). However, we soon learn that there is one thing that she hasn’t had–an orgasm. That’s right, she has never once in her life reached sexual climax by any means. Although it hardly seems to bother Priscilla, it has driven Jack to an advanced state of distraction–once a promising teacher, he is now a burn-out who devotes most of his energy on campus to wrestling with the recalcitrant vending machines–and the two separate. Eventually, Priscilla is encouraged to visit a sex therapist (WARNING–a sex therapist played by Liza Minnelli) and is advised to purchase a vibrator for extra stimulation.

Curious, she purchases one at the local sex shop, tries it out for herself and is so enthralled by the results that she quickly becomes an addict. Eventually, she tries to wean herself off of the toy with a variety of partners–including the helpful sex shop clerk played by an unbilled Heather Graham–but finds herself once again unfulfilled until she unexpectedly begins a relationship with Wayne (DeVito), a local swimming pool builder who wants to give her a deal and winds up giving her much more. Meanwhile, Paul begins an affair with one of his students (Mischa Barton) and finds himself rejuvenated by his renewed ability to please a female in bed.

Like I said, “The OH in Ohio” has a great premise for a film–who wouldn’t want to see Parker Posey comedically struggling in the throes of sexual dissatisfaction?–but it curiously never quite manages to do anything with it. Oh sure, Posey is a scream as Priscilla throughout and there are some nice scenes in the later half between her and DeVito as they gradually get to know each other. On the other hand, debuting director Billy Kent has trouble finding the right tone much of the time and too many seemingly sure-fire scenes wind up fizzling out as a result. Take the sequence in which Priscilla discovers the added benefits of a cell phone set to vibrate, forgets to remove it before an important meeting and is then withers under a barrage of incoming calls. On paper, it sounds like a home run but despite Posey’s game efforts, the scene plays like an improv session gone wrong. Other aspects of Adam Wierzbianski’s screenplay just don’t work at all, especially the relationship between Jack and his student–Barton’s character (a former stoner turned science whiz under her teacher’s influence) is never believable for a second and the resolution of their affair is handled so unsatisfactorily that it feels as if some further scenes were left behind in the editing room.

And yet, while “The OH in Ohio” never comes together enough to warrant a recommendation for anyone other than hard-core Parker Posey fans, there are individual moments scattered throughout that I will admit to chuckling at. The scenes involving Priscilla visiting the sex shop as if it were no different than a Crate & Barrel. The sage advice offered to Jack by guidance counselor Keith David. The moniker that Priscilla selects when encouraged in therapy to name her vagina. The scene on the water slide between Priscilla and Wayne the Pool Guy, a tour-de-force of humor, heart and genuine sexiness that is so effective that you’ll wish that the rest of the film could have been that good.

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originally posted: 08/11/06 14:17:19
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/30/06 William Goss Impressively unremarkable climax comedy that manages to waste a solid cast in the process. 2 stars
7/24/06 Mase With talent like this the movie shouldnt feel so mediocre, boy does it. 2 stars
4/12/06 James Carr Ramshackle, but hilarious. 4 stars
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  14-Jul-2006 (R)
  DVD: 05-Dec-2006



Directed by
  Billy Kent

Written by
  Adam Wierzbianski

  Parker Posey
  Paul Rudd
  Danny DeVito
  Mischa Barton
  Miranda Bailey
  Liza Minnelli

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