Thursday, October 08, 2009

Movie Log: The OH in Ohio

It would be difficult to completely believe in The Oh in Ohio, a movie that aspires to the quality of sitcom. But it's a pleasant movie with a good heart, and a viewer who can overlook the obvious bits of dumbness and idiot plotting will have a fine time watching it.

Parker Posey is Priscilla, a woman in her mid-thirties whom, we quickly learn, has never had an orgasm in her life. She seems resigned to this, but it's made her husband, Jack (Paul Rudd) comedically and loudly de-masculinized -- although he insists that his sexual prowess is magnificent. (The viewer may doubt this, but there's a later scene in which another character fails to bring Priscilla to an orgasm despite what's clearly a lot of effort and six near-misses, so it's quite possible that he has done everything he can.)

After several very sitcom-esque scenes, Priscilla finally buys a vibrator -- one reason, perhaps, that she's never climaxed is that she claims to have never masturbated, either by hand or any external aid. At the same time, Jack is rushing home, since his best friend at work has told him that if he allows his wife to use a vibrator when he's not there, he'll have lost her forever. The inevitable occurs; Jack arrives to hear his wife have a screaming orgasm in the next room via the power of Duracell, and so he walks out of the marriage.

(It's inevitable in a silly, cartoony movie like this, where people don't talk about sex with each other honestly or have any openness to trying new ideas that might make things better. It's thankfully not inevitable in real life.)

Jack starts up an affair with a student -- he's a highschool teacher -- which provides the movie an excuse to flash some perky young breasts at the viewer and to show that Jack does, indeed, have "a magnificent penis." His story continues alongside Priscilla's, though he doesn't really get an ending -- and he certainly doesn't get either of the endings the average male viewer would want.

Priscilla, as is also inevitable in a story like this, throws herself into sex with abandon. The OH in Ohio deserves credit for never calling her a slut, but it clearly both thinks she's out of control and that sleeping with a lot of men (and one woman) is what a woman would of course do if she suddenly became orgasmic in mid-life. There's also a funny but very silly scene in which Priscilla is wearing panties into which she's thrust her cellphone -- if I need to connect those dots for you, this movie may be unfortunately too sophisticated for you.

In the end, Priscilla finds love, or at least her first orgasms caused by another human being, in the person of the biggest name in the cast who seemed most tenuously connected to the plot. The movie hints that this is because of the circumstances before that sexual encounter -- that she finally had to "let go" of her massive self-control -- but never makes this clear.

The OH In Ohio is funny but has an attitude about sex that I would have thought was at least thirty years out of date in 2006 (when it was released) and either a script that either didn't quite come together or a final cut that made the best of the scenes that actually worked. It's a good movie to see and feel superior to, if your sex life is at all better than Jack and Priscilla's, though I do think a lot of male viewers will identify too strongly with Jack and be unhappy with the way the movie turns out.

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