Let’s stipulate right at the top that air sex isn’t a “thing.” Appending the phrase “except in Austin, Texas,” doesn’t make it any less painfully contrived than Bud Light Lime or the superstardom of Shia LaBeouf.
And the fact that the world’s most annoying emcee declares, right there onstage in the smooch-com Love & Air Sex, that he makes up the rules as he goes along doesn’t help to establish air sex’s legitimacy as a sport.
But obviously, the film’s story happens against the backdrop of the “World Championships” of air sex at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, a city that updated its wardrobe in 1995 and said, “Clothing solved!”
After chasing their life ambitions to separate coasts, Stan (Michael Stahl-David) and Cathy (Ashley Bell) break up, despite mutual lingering affection. They find themselves in Austin on the same weekend, each struggling with whether or not to reconnect as they embark on their own separate bar-crawling adventures.
What’s remarkable is that despite the sweaty overdetermination of the film’s dude-bro interactions and the whole prefabricated concept of performance air sex, the love story has actual depth and sadness.
Stahl-David and Bell come correct with appealing, sensitive performances and chemistry that never evaporates, even though they’re only seen together in a single flashback.
As Jeff, Stan’s best friend, Zach Cregger is funny and kind of like what Ryan Reynolds would be if he had a soul. It’s also remarkable that the screenwriters have both the good taste to craft such a sensitive, heartbreakingly genuine love story and really hideous taste in nightlife pursuits.