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The Independent Critic

 "Sex Stories" Review 
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Nomi, Sebastian Barrio, Lou Charmelle, Amelie Jolie, Leeloo, Phil Holliday, Rico Simmons, Milka Manson
Ovidie & Jack Tyler
NR (Equiv. to NC-17)
90 Mins.
Breaking Glass Pictures (DVD)

Created to be in the vein of such groundbreaking cinema as Shortbus, Irreversible and 9 Songs, Sex Stories is at its roots a "sexpose" type film that attempts to travel inside the intimate workings of a group of friends who gather at two different dinner parties on the same evening.

The first dinner party features the film's women and, predictably, the other features their male counterparts. Quickly, this "dinner party" becomes a series of conversations that delve into each characters' recent sexual escapades. There's one couple who has recently tried swinging, a middle-aged woman who has picked up a spark of interest from her daughter's boyfriend, a young newlywed who has decided that sex simply isn't for her and others.

Approaching the subject lightly, co-writers and directors Ovidie and Jack Tyler captures, at least on a fundamental level, the many contrasting views about what it means to be a good lover.

Unfortunately, they forgot to make the film interesting.

On the other hand, Sex Stories may have the weird privilege of being the only film review on The Independent Critic that likely qualifies as an NC-17 rated film (though the film itself is "Not Rated") and a strong one at that.

There is an abundance of flesh and sexuality in Sex Stories, a French language film that has played at festivals in France and Germany. What there isn't in Sex Stories is anything worth watching.

Seriously, how can 90 minutes of talking about sex be so incredibly uninteresting?

The actors and actresses are attractive.

The script is light and, on occasion, elicits a few smiles.

The camera work is fine.

Unfortunately, there's simply nothing else that Sex Stories brings to the table other than the usual frankness of a French film dealing with sexuality but without any of the usual French flair and gift for intriguing characters. The characters in Sex Stories are remarkably devoid of personality, as if the focus on sexuality became the film's sole focus.

Trust me, it's not enough.

Words are spoken, but they ring hollow and empty. It is as if we are listening to 10 conversations about absolutely nothing, and by film's end even the situations that should intrigue feel strangely uninvolving.

Ovidie, an acclaimed French director for making just this type of film, misses the mark with Sex Stories.

For those of you who might appreciate the experimental nature of the film, Breaking Glass Pictures will be releasing it on home video in July 2010. For more information, visit the Breaking Glass website. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

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