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4 reviews, 3 user ratings

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Oh in Ohio, The
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by Laura Kyle

"More like the OH in ‘Oh my, Mischa Barton is a terrible actress.’"
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2006 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL: The OH in Ohio confirms it. Mischa Barton’s acting is about as flat as her chest. She’s unbelievably bad, no… remarkably horrid, and even though she’s hardly in The OH in Ohio, this is worth noting. Because maybe it’s the reason Parker Posey OVER-acts; you know, to make up for Barton’s lack of acting?

Essentially, you’ve got your lead actress trying way too hard and a supporting actress who looks like she’ll drop dead if she goes another minute without food. All the actors in between are great though, and Posey’s performance, while a bit over-the-top, is darned fun to watch. And so is the film, despite its messy self.

Ohio’s topic is the Female Orgasm (or lack thereof). So, the movie probably thinks it’s daring, testing mainstream America’s comfort level with sex, going where no Hollywood movie has gone before, and altogether, Pushing the Envelope.

The subject matter’s long overdo; browse through any issue of Cosmopolitan and you’ll soon discover that way too many ladies have trouble reaching orgasm during intercourse. Parker Posey’s character Priscilla has an unusually hopeless case of sexual dysfunction. She’s NEVER had an orgasm, I mean NEVER. And she’s married!

Her husband Jack (Paul Rudd) is tired of feeling inadequate in bed, so the two part ways, Jack looking to reclaim his manhood with a girl capable of having an orgasm, who also happens to be one of his high school students (Mischa Barton). Priscilla confronts her problem … er, head on … and purchases a dildo for the first time in her life. She quickly becomes addicted to the little miracle-worker and embarks on a new exploration of her sexuality. During her odyssey, she makes a new friend, Wayne (Danny DeVito), who may also be a suitable, however unusual, sexual partner.

Ohio is a comedy and in case you weren’t sure, well, Posey will keep reminding you of that. Her physical movements are vaudeville-esque, fit for a stage; she’s almost cartoonish as a formal prude who now has an exciting, new appetite for sex. Whether or not people will like her full-hearted effort here or think she’s miscast, is pretty subjective. I happened to get quite a kick out of it.

Paul Rudd is as always, hilarious, this time as a sexually frustrated biology teacher. And Danny DeVito… is, well, Danny DeVito, while Mischa Barton… is. Well, we already went over this.

Ohio is often clever and funny but as a whole, it just doesn’t work. It’s got a great concept, but simply doesn’t go anywhere all that interesting. Girl Meets Dildo. Girl Falls In Love With Dildo. Blah blah blah. It doesn’t help that the parings of Rudd and Barton and Posey and DeVito don’t really translate well to viewers. The tall, gangly Posey and the short, plump DeVito are an odd match, on purpose of course, but because Posey’s so overly animated, she doesn’t really come across as all that sincere, and so it’s difficult for the audience to truly invest in her quirky relationship with Wayne.

The message in Ohio is that women should, or deserve to, be in “touch” with themselves, and it’s okay to expect your soul-mate to be a good sexual playmate too. The film deals with real issues that are worthy of real, cinematic attention. But Ohio’s way too uneven and tedious to have any real effect.

Its comedy is disconnected from its themes. There are plenty of laughs in Ohio, but they mostly come from Posey’s elaborate facial reactions to things and slapstick gags and Rudd’s deadpan delivery. (And Mischa Barton’s bad acting!) But none of them come from the actual subject matter or plot, so Ohio fails to be a true satire or human comedy.

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originally posted: 03/27/06 06:47:56
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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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