Better Than Sex
dir-scr Jonathan Teplitsky
with Susie Porter, David Wenham, Catherine McClements, Kris McQuade, Simon Bossell, Imelda Corcoran, Mark Priestley, Dina Gillespie, Tamblyn Lord, Emily Saunders, Jason Clarke, Laura Keneally
release UK 6.Apr.01; US 15.Jun.01
00/Australia 1h21
3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
This light and breezy rom-com is, to be honest, neither very romantic nor terribly funny. But it is very enjoyable, with its relaxed performances and unusual style. Josh and Cin (Wenham and Porter) meet at a party in Sydney just two days before Josh is set to return home to London. Since he's leaving, they both rationalise that a one night stand will be purely casual. But of course, something happens to them. Josh ends up staying a second night. Things are said. Love is fallen into.

That's about all there is to it, but Teplitsky tries to get into the minds of the characters with documentary-like straight-to-camera bits involving Josh and Cin as well as all their friends. And he also includes, in the story's brief timespan, the standard boy meets girl, boy loses girl, etc, plot. Plus a kind of guardian angel taxi driver (McQuade) who pushes things along. Yes, it's contrived and more than a bit silly, but there's something about he two central performances that wins us over--unmannered, open, brightly winning turns by two of Australia's top stars. There's more interesting stuff going on in their eyes than in the rest of the film's clunky subplots put together, and this makes the film work very nicely indeed. It feels almost like a stage play, since the vast majority of the film takes place in Cin's loft apartment--or more specifically, in her bed! And despite trying a bit too hard, Teplitsky does manage to get us thinking about the nature of attraction--and how animal magnetism can lead to something much more profound if we're willing to let it.
adult themes and situations, language, nudity cert 18 2.Apr.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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