AUTOEROTIC - Mumblcore On DemandAugust 24, 2011

AUTOEROTIC - Mumblcore On Demand

IFC Films

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: AUTOEROTIC (IFC Films)


 

Click Here For On Demand Weekly's Exclusive Interview With Director Joe Swanberg

 

 

AUTOEROTIC - Mumblcore On Demand
By Chris Claro

 

The genre that forces you to crank the volume all the way up, mumblecore, marches on with AUTOEROTIC, directed by Joe Swanberg (UNCLE KENT) and Adam Wingard, a rambling and digressive examination of the sexual foibles of a group of Chicagoans. Swinging wildly from outrageous farce to creepy voyeurism to – one or two – moments of tenderness, the film is explicit, prurient, and not the least bit sexy.

 



Using naturalistic settings and lighting, Swanberg and Wingard, who wrote the script with Simon Barrett, dive deep into dysfunction, shining a light on a panoply of sexual maladies, including chronic masturbation, anaorgasmia, online porn addiction, and self-asphyxiation as sexual aide. It’s all as much fun as it sounds, and it features a crew of self-absorbed hipsters who make sex look about as inviting as a visit to the DMV.

The film opens with a vignette featuring a guy who thinks he isn’t packing enough to satisfy his girlfriend. Despite her assurance that he’s wrong, the guy breaks up with her and starts a regimen of penis enlargement pills. Satisfied with the initial results, he starts popping them by the jarful. When it appears he’s about to score with a girl, she runs, screaming and naked, from his monster member (which is never shown on camera).

 

The tone of AUTOEROTIC lurches from the broadness of that opening sequence to a truly disturbing “climax” involving the barter of some unsavory amateur porn in exchange for something even more seamy. With all the dirty going on, though, it’s difficult to find anybody to root for. The characters, such as they are, seem to be merely stick figures onto whom the filmmakers can graft neuroses or obsessions. As a result, it’s hard to make an investment in AUTOEROTIC.

 

 

But it’s possible that that’s what Swanberg and Wingard had in mind

– a post-millennial view of sex as less an act of intimacy than an impersonal

mode of alienation for the Facebook age.

I don’t want to come off as a prig here. Sex is right at the top of my list of favorite things, alongside spicy pan-fried noodles, the swingin’ tunes of Sammy Davis, Jr., and a tranquil sunset sea breeze; if I could combine all four of those at once, I’d be in heaven. And I certainly don’t think that sexual malaise are off-limits in cinema; freaky desires and kinky practices make for great late-night fare.

 

 

My problem with AUTOEROTIC is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be, swinging as it does between comedy, melodrama, and outright oddness. As a result, it’s a challenging but frustrating experience that feels a little like coitus interruptus.

 

 

- Chris Claro

Chris
Chris Claro is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. He is a former Director of Promotion for Sundance Channel and now works as a writer, producer, and media educator. He is a regular contributor to dvdverdict.com and contributor to the Eyes and Ears section of huffingtonpost.com

 

Look for AUTOEROTIC (IFC Films) under your cable system's Movie On Demand section.


 

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