How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town (Gravitas Ventures, NR)

How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town is a tedious endeavor that seems to be more interested in the planning than it is in the orgy.

HowtoPlan

Not much could bring sex columnist Cassie Cranston (Jewel Staite of Firefly fame) back her Canadian hometown of Beaver’s Ridge. They don’t exactly want her back either, as she had once been considered the resident slut in a town that prides itself on being the epicenter of “family values.” Despite all this, Cassie’s back at Beaver’s Ridge after a 12-year vacancy. Her estranged mother has passed away, and she’s hoping to perhaps find some inspiration for a book she’s contractually obligated to write. At the funeral, Cassie runs into some of her old high school classmates—the same ones who slut-shamed her out of town—who seem just as oppressed as ever. Much of Cassie’s sex column mocks the conservative lifestyles of Beaver’s Ridge, causing many town folks to have even more resentment towards her than before she left. An awkward bump in at the funeral ultimately leads a reluctant Cassie agreeing to organize an orgy amongst her former classmates.

Everyone has various reasons for wanting to participate in the orgy. Former best friend Alice (Katharine Isabelle, Ginger Snaps) is rediscovering her sexuality after separating from her husband Bruce (Mark O’Brien). Bruce is there to perhaps win her back, but he’s mostly just desperate to get laid. Heather (Lauren Lee Smith, The L Word) wants to have a baby, and is quick to tell her husband Adam (Ennis Esmer) that he has “the worst sperm” their doctor has ever seen. Adam is there both to support his wife, and to perhaps find some closure with Cassie who happens to be his ex-girlfriend. Cassie’s involvement is strictly to find a subject for her next book—certainly not to participate. Here’s one thing no one knows about Cassie—she’s a virgin.

Being a sex columnist with no real sexual experience seems an awful lot like a sex therapist who has never had an orgasm, but that’s where the comparison to Shortbus stops. For a sex-comedy called How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town, there’s hardly any nudity and even less laughs to be had. Writer-director Jeremy LaLonda seems confused on who his intended audience is: teenagers will be disappointed at the incredibly vanilla sex-antics, and adults will be frustrated by the paper-thin psychology of the characters. Elsewhere, the movie’s plot is far too formulaic and in turn predictable. It makes for a very uninspired ensemble piece, which is a shame considering how promising the concept sounds on paper. LaLonda makes the admirable attempt to bang out a script that gives the film’s many players a fully realized-arch, but the results are a bunch of one-note characters having the same types of conversations over and over again. The cast seems to have a lot of fun with the material, but not enough to bring any life to such a by-the-numbers script. How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town is a tedious endeavor that seems to be more interested in the planning than it is in the orgy. | Cait Lore

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