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Watch: Jason Sudeikis Plays A Horndog, Again, In 'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy' Trailer

by Sam Price
July 22, 2011 2:41 AM
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Orgies, generally speaking, tend not to be most riveting stuff on film, as anyone who suffered through Tom Cruise’s winding, nonsensical journey to see wife Nicole Kidman Julienne Davis get violated by strangers in a country house whilst wearing a mask in “Eyes Wide Shut” will no doubt agree. You'd think the "raunchy" trailer for the Apatowian “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy” – which sounds like it was a good title before it was a good screenplay - would aim to explode this notion quicker than you can say “Fidelio” with an onslaught of middle-class thirty-somethings disrobing and engaging all kinds of bad behavior. As it is, there's little of that on display here: Tyler Labine takes his shirt off a couple of times and the principal cast have a round of tequilas. Wild.

The film – helmed by debuting writer-directors Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, who have a great track record for their work in television -- received some decent notices back when it premiered at Tribeca a couple months ago (our reviewer had a lot of time for it), suggesting it might be a sniff above the likes of the similarly-themed ‘Generation X hits its mid-life crisis’ movies “Couples Retreat,” “Hot Tub Time Machine,” and “Hall Pass”. On the evidence of this trailer, though, something must've got lost in the PR campaign because it looks more like a belated sequel to “Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom” with less of the funny bits.

The trailer asks of us, “When you’re young, your friends are like family, but some families behave better than others. But when it’s time to grow up, do you go out with a whimper or a bang?” and proceeds to extend its homage to T.S Eliot’s much-abused poem "The Hollow Men" by showing real-life hollow men and women cavorting around in stupid costumes, falling in swimming pools and – gasp! – lounging about drinking white wine. This is the way the world ends, is it?

The plot involves a presumably affluent white man-child called Eric (Jason Sudeikis) who, threatened by the closure of his surrogate family’s “summer playground” in the Hamptons (the horror), for some reason decides to become a latter-day Caligula, or at least the human incarnation of the whacked-out ‘party dude’ from "Futurama" Slurms McKenzie and stage an orgy to give this hallowed ground the proper send-off it deserves, and literalize the notion of a Labor Day weekend ‘blow-out’.

Sudeikis is a decent enough performer, even though his sudden post-“Horrible Bosses” omnipresence (he also recently landed a gig on the third season of HBO’s excellent “Eastbound & Down”) is starting to grate a bit. But he’s surrounded himself with some other able comedians (Will Forte, Lake Bell, Martin Starr) even if Labine seems to sidle into the apparently-now-customary “overweight friend with a forthright personality” role a tad too lazily. Quite why American mainstream comedies seem locked in such an adolescent death-grip is, we suppose, up for a good old-fashioned mass debate. The most obvious target is Todd Phillips – the dull "provocateur" behind the two “The Hangover” movies and “Old School,” whose early quasi-documentary “Frat House” apparently aimed to explore the dark side of fraternity pledging, but has since seen its subjects' behavior embraced into Hollywood's expansive bosom, particularly now that plush R-rated comedies are back in vogue.

Of course, there’s a precedent for doing this sort of thing the right way and it's unfair to judge solely on the basis of one trailer alone, given the film's positive appraisals elsewhere. Paul Mazursky did a pretty good job skewering these impulses on “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” in 1969, as did “Shampoo”, whilst Mike Nichols flipped male sexuality on its head in “Carnal Knowledge” a few years later and Lynn Shelton flagged up similar issues in “Humpday” as recently as 2009. For all we know “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy,” might be in this grand tradition, or simply a lot of good fun, but the trailer doesn't impart much outside of "male idiotic behavior is often funny" or, as Slurms McKenzie himself might say, “WHIMMY WHAM WHAM WOZZLE!”. The film opens September 2nd in a limited release.

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  • Chris | July 23, 2011 7:59 AMReply

    OK, I just have to defend Sam here real quick. I was one of the first ones to criticize him because of his blatant factual error regarding Kidman, but to sit there and shit all over the writer just because he has a different opinion than your own is so petty and childish, it's absurd. If you're so insecure about your own opinion of "Eyes Wide Shut" that you can't simply accept that someone else doesn't feel the same way and respectfully disagree, but instead feel the need to call him names SIMPLY FOR DARING TO HAVE SAID OPINION, well that says a lot more about your intellectual (im)maturity than his "Eyes Wide Shut" comments say about his.

    For the record, I'm a fan of "Eyes Wide Shut" as well (not quite as much as some, but still), so I disagree with Sam here. But for god's sake, the guy simply happens to have a different opinion. Are we in third grade? Are we on a political talk show? Jesus.

  • scribe | July 22, 2011 10:21 AMReply

    Kev, Oliver- where are you guys?! and why is this punk ragging on Eyes Wide Shut?! Sam Price, I've never read one of your articles until now, but YOU ARE FUCKING LAME BRO. BEGINNING A REVIEW TRASHING KUBRICK'S FINAL FILM- ONE WORD- STUPID. two words- stupid blogger. five words- stupid blogger somehow got promoted. LOOK AT WHAT YOUR BASE IS SAYING. ITS A GREAT FILM AND IF YOU DONT LIKE IT, YOU DONT BELONG AT THE PLAYLIST. KJ, GET THIS GUY OFF YOUR PAGE- HE FAILED THE LITMUS TEST

  • Matt | July 22, 2011 7:59 AMReply

    As everyone knows, EWS is far more successful as a dream than as a film, and the good thing about dreams is that the details are fluid. Kubrick won't be spinning in his grave, let's all just chill the fuck out.

  • Sam Price | July 22, 2011 6:42 AMReply

    So I've gone back and watched the scene in question. It's obviously not Kidman, it's Julienne Davis' character and, yeah, this is a pretty big oversight. I was wrong. I apologize. Thanks for calling me out. Might have to stage a pity orgy to get over this.

  • Erik | July 22, 2011 6:23 AMReply

    Sam, it's amazing to me that you manage to write such a flippant retort when you so obviously got a major plot point in Eyes Wide Shut wrong. There is absolutely no ambivalence in the film - Kidman is not at the country house. I'm sure you love Kubrick, but come on, you have to admit that it's a little embarrassing to be criticising a film while getting something so basic completely wrong.

  • Sam Price | July 22, 2011 5:19 AMReply


  • Sam Price | July 22, 2011 5:12 AMReply

    That was true for a while, Hipster Jim. Now I'm just wanking into a flannel whilst sobbing because Z ripped me a new one.

  • Sam Price | July 22, 2011 5:05 AMReply

    Oh dear. Yes this Sam character - that's me, hello Z (big Costa Gravas fan?) - has seen Eyes Wide Shut a couple of times. I've seen Killer's Kiss, The Killing and Paths of Glory more, because those are my favourites. I also own The Stanley Kubrick Archives, the Alison Castle/Taschen book on Napoleon, I've watched the Jon Ronson doc on his 'Boxes', and I went to Paris to see an exhibition on the master only a few weeks ago. The details are here: It's pretty good, I'd say go if you're in town. There's some pretty decent facsimiles of his correspondence with some of his admirers and peers and his original annotations on The Shining screenplay.

    So, no, I don't hate Stanley Kubrick. No self-respecting film fan does. Personally I think he went off the boil with Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut is very much a compromised motion picture. Pardon me for having the temerity to hold such a viewpoint. I believe it's left deliberately ambiguous whether or Kidman attends the evening revelries or not (the blonde in the mask, her identiry), or perhaps I'm misremembering. I'd say it's pretty clear that Cruise is projecting his own irrational desires onto that figure but feel free to disagree with me. I won't call you dumb if you do. And if I've violated some massive sacrosanct taboo by criticizing his valedictory bow-out (we can all probably agree it wasn't Alan Cummings' finest work, right?), then I apologise a million times over for opening these pod bay doors.

    If you want to debate the finer points of his time at Look magazine with me, why he has such disdain for Fear and Desire, Shelley Winters' performance in Lolita, or how I've wildly underestimated this adaptation of Traumnovelle, then feel free to hurl more random indiscriminate abuse at me based solely on one sentence I've written using anonymous names on the internet.


  • Edward Davis | July 22, 2011 4:44 AMReply

    Hey guys, i just picked up some hankies for all you Eyes Wide Shut convention dudes. Don't use them all up too fast.

  • Hipster Jim | July 22, 2011 4:41 AMReply

    Lay off the writer. He was clearly too busy sniffing his own comedy brilliance farts to pay attention to major plot details.

  • Z | July 22, 2011 4:09 AMReply

    Not for nothing, but while the management is under no obligation to share the opinions of its writers (even the dumb opinions), it should at least have an interest in making sure the writers get the details right. You know - copy editing, fact-checking, and so forth. Has this Sam character even seen Eyes Wide Shut?

  • Edward Davis | July 22, 2011 3:42 AMReply

    Kinda love most of Eyes Wide Shut, but the ending is rather abominable and its understandable why that ruins the entire movie for some.

  • Chris | July 22, 2011 3:39 AMReply

    Wait, what the hell are you talking about, Sam? Kidman's character wasn't in the country house in "Eyes Wide Shut." She wasn't part of the orgy.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 22, 2011 3:38 AMReply

    The opinions of this writer aren't necessarily shared by the management.

    Personally, I love EWS.

  • ken | July 22, 2011 3:36 AMReply

    I hope your feelings on Kubrick's last masterpiece isn't shared by other writers of The Playlist. If so, I'd be greatly disappointed.

  • jos | July 22, 2011 2:59 AMReply

    well one of us completely misinterpreted Eyes Wide Shut

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