Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Movie Log: Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Netflix recommended Scenes of a Sexual Nature, and its trailer was amusing, so we got it last week.

Scenes's title betrays its origin -- it was, at first, seven separate vignettes, which were combined into one film since they were all about relationships and all took place in the same location (and that would allow the combination to be a movie, released to theaters and all that). A young man tries to pick up an young woman, a middle-aged couple meet for a blind date, an older couple meet by chance and discover they have a shared past -- that sort of thing. (Let's see if I can remember all of the rest: a divorced couple trade their child for a visit, a gay couple talk about children, a married man is caught staring at a pretty girl's "pants," and a very chic-looking couple wander amid columns until we find out something unexpected.)

It's essentially a textbook case of how to create a successful low-budget movie:
  • start with a good script, with juicy (but small) roles that actors will enjoy
  • get those actors (lots of them) by saying its only two or three days of work, and let them work with people they like
  • set the whole thing outdoors (on Hampstead Heath), to avoid building sets, or needing much in the way of props
  • and then set up a cast-and-crew joint-stock company to distribute the final product and keep the money going to the ones who made it.
The actors are all good, and the script supports them. The movie's short and light and not as sexy as one might expect from the title. (Then again, it is British, so any sex at all is slightly surprising.) It's a successful comedy that doesn't overstay its welcome (though the "making of" documentary is half as long as the movie, and exceptionally congratulatory). If you don't expect anything large from it, Scenes of a Sexual Nature will be a delight.

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