A Good Old Fashioned Orgy delays gratification
Jason Sudeikis' attempt at a sexy shindig is a bore
The filmmakers of 2011 seem obsessed with two things: 3-D and the spectacle of Jason Sudeikis attempting to live out middle-class fantasies. One of Hall Pass's horny husbands and Horrible Bosses' seething employees, the "Saturday Night Live" cast member takes center stage as Eric, a corporate drudge planning a group sex shindig in A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.
Eric and his male and female high school buddies, though all pushing 30, still live like students and throw huge parties at his father's house in the Hamptons. When dad (Don Johnson) puts the place on the market, Eric and his predictably slobby pal Mike (Tyler Labine) suggest they enjoy their last hurrah with debauchery over Labor Day weekend. Eric partly plays a generational card, arguing that AIDS caused them to miss the swinging '70s and the free love of today's youth.
Eric proposes the orgy weeks before Labor Day, requiring the film to kill nearly an hour with stalling tactics like his romance with a hot realtor (Leslie Bibb) or an engaged couple (Will Forte and Lucy Punch) shut out from the bacchanal. As conceived by writers/directors Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, self-absorption and aggressively annoying tics define Eric and his friends, so they make tedious company. Sudeikis specializes in playing clean-cut white guys with naughty streaks, but comes across as smug, while a similar actor such as Ed Helms conveys fears and vulnerabilities.
Orgy's last act reveals a surprisingly open mind about sexual experimentation compared to a more conservative comedy like Hall Pass. Had A Good Old Fashioned Orgy taken place solely over Labor Day weekend, it could have explored the complications of modern sexuality with more insight. Instead the film spends most of its efforts on foreplay before getting down to business.