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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 24%
Pretty Bad: 4%
Total Crap36%

1 review, 19 user ratings

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by Chris Parry

"A film about sex problems, featuring nothing but talking? How novel!"
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2003 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL: There’s a theory that abounds throughout the festival world, that says you should go easy on indie films because they take risks and try to do things that mainstream cinema would never dare try. I guess that’s where Sexless lost me – it does nothing new, nothing risky, nothing that hasn’t been done a thousand times before with budgets larger and smaller, names known and unknown, and with results that range from middling to terrible. Sexless is in the upper echelon of the talky café-set sex dramedy genre, but that hardly equates to a rousing seal of approval. In actual fact, when placed on a bell curve of all independent cinemas... Sexless is pretty much ‘blah.’

Alex Holdridge’s second feature film outing will do nothing to hurt his standing in the film community, especially the Austin Texas film community, where the story is set. Reminding us of his hometown location to an almost painful extent (I’ve been here for barely a week and even I was recognizing backgrounds), Holdridge not only takes on the directing and writing responsibilities, but he also takes center stage as lead – a common trap for young players. If Holdridge had cast someone else in that lead role he could have told that person, “speak up, let the microphone hear you, and for God’s sake give this character some depth.” If only…

Which is not to say Holdridge has done an awful job at any of his positions, just that he hasn’t done a great one in any of them. His acting, as an aimless guy wondering if the girl he’s with is enough to keep him happy, is strictly co-star material. His writing, in a script that explores his needs for sexual attention and his girlfriend’s need for something new, is at times funny, but at times toothless. And his direction doesn’t drive you nuts, but it certainly doesn’t give you the inventiveness behind the camera that you’d need to pull this kind of motion-free material off.

The cast in Sexless is fun to watch. Camille Chen is perhaps most satisfying, both in an aesthetic fashion and as an actress, while Kelly Dealyn and Brian McGuire never succeed in giving their characters the sincerity needed to feel sorry for them. And that’s the main problem here, while we’re supposed to be empathizing with these characters as they bounce from relationship to fantasy to affair to despair, all we’re really doing is laughing occasionally, squirming in our seat occasionally and noting to ourselves that all of these guys are essentially pricks.

I suspect that Sexless is one of those all too common exercises in an actor deciding to write and direct a film that he can then cast himself in, which is almost always a mistake. If you want to show the world you can act, having it in the back of your mind that you have to get through six more set-ups today is not going to help your performance. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in directing and cast yourself as a bit of a laugh or to save yourself an actor’s fee, you’re only ensuring that you’ll be directing the thing by proxy and missing important details.

Shot in High Definition video and running right about the one and a half hour mark, it’s very possible I’m being overly critical of what is, when it comes down to it, a very 'watchable' work. But when you’re taking a theme that’s been done to death, dusting it off and re-serving it as fresh meat, the least you could do is warm it up a little. To my mind, Sexless lacks warmth and freshness, and ultimately tastes like chicken.

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originally posted: 03/18/03 12:48:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/21/07 Dimebag SUX large DIX 1 stars
4/15/06 David Ortoz Very witty and engaging. 5 stars
3/07/06 Sarah Yeah, a really bad woody allen 1 stars
12/24/05 Leonardo For those who are deep thinkers 5 stars
12/24/05 Michael P Well done, like a New Woody Allen 5 stars
6/02/05 fat pig i'm so fat that i might eat my own ass for lunch 1 stars
10/27/04 Sara I hate myself 1 stars
8/05/04 Ben Everyone sucked in this movie. Especially that Asian girl. 1 stars
7/09/04 Nicole Funny, & Well Acted. Would see it again. 5 stars
6/21/04 Mike Short & fat w/ it still stinks too. 1 stars
6/17/04 Thomas I saw it in New York & thought it was great! 5 stars
6/04/04 Courtney Bad Acting - theater hurts in film, unoriginal 1 stars
2/07/04 Trey Bueche delightfully witty!!! 5 stars
7/14/03 lee ann taylor thought the movie was great 5 stars
5/01/03 Dogma Sucks ASS! 1 stars
4/08/03 Julie Funny and real modern romance. Loved it. Saw it twice! 5 stars
4/06/03 nameless poorly written, obviously an early draft compounded by wooden acting and bad photography 2 stars
4/03/03 Bill McNeal Wow, this hasn't been Done A Million Times Already... 1 stars
3/21/03 letty excellent & refreshing film!! 5 stars
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