Sex Is Comedy, Kind of, in Autoerotic

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Autoerotic
Directed by Joe Swanberg and Adam Wingard
IFC Midnight
Opens July 22, IFC Center

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Good sex comedies know that there’s nothing funnier than the seriousness people attach to fucking. Autoerotic, Joe Swanberg and Adam Wingard’s latest exploration of amorous urban collisions, is only sporadically a good sex comedy, in part because the flat affect favored by its young Chicago cast of hipsters looks an awful lot like, well, seriousness. The movie consists of four vignettes that range from the jokey (a hamster-dicked nice guy becomes a would-be philandering jerk after gobbling penis-enlargement pills) to the tender (a pregnant woman played by Swanberg’s wife, Kris, drafts a female friend to help her achieve the Big O, much to her excluded baby daddy’s disappointment) to the off-putting (a narcissistic voyeur makes an icky bargain with his ex in return for deleting their old homemade boinking videos). All segments depict some degree of self-love, as the title suggests, and most generate a few laughs—Kate Lyn Sheil deadpans the best line, “Sounds like a good idea,” when a pal casually suggests masturbatory self-strangulation in the second bit. There are are flashes of sexual insight amid the movie’s lovely, deceptively complex compositions and smartly deployed songs, but overall Autoerotic is as vaporous and vaguely dissatisfying as a negotiated quickie before work.

 
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