Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (Woody Allen / U.S., 1972):

"Letís Misbehave" and a mass of white bunnies herald the opening credits, Woody Allen signs it over a close-up of a twitching pink nose. Dr. David Reubenís manual is the basis, Balzacís proverbial "orangutan trying to play the violin" informs the blackout-skit timbre. The question of aphrodisiacs is addressed in Bergmanís medieval times (The Seventh Seal); Allenís court jester ("But seriously, ladies and germs, about that Black Plague?") inflames the queen (Lynn Redgrave) but gets stuck with her chastity belt, time runs out ("Before you know it, the Renaissance will be here and weíll all be painting") and the chopping block receives him. Gene Wilderís grave performance as a physician smitten with an Armenian sheep locates The Blue Angel in the "Sodomy" segment, Lou Jacobi caught in heels and nylons makes the "Transvestite" episode a lacerating critique of Charleyís Aunt -- both are very serious (clinical, even) accounts of helpless passion sliding into degradation. The "Frigidity" chapter finds Allen with Mastroianniís shades leaning against Antonioniís blank walls, with Louise Lasser as the chilly donna who springs to life in public places only. Jack Barry presides over the "Whatís My Perversion" game show, which builds to the image of a wizened rabbi being happily flagellated while his wife munches on pork. The "Sex Researchers" sketch measures the distance between Dr. Kinsey and Dr. Moreau: Mad scientist John Carradine has a grand moment slurping in anticipation of a "4000 X-cup" big-blob tit, which roams the countryside for the benefit of Felliniís City of Women. Finally, "Ejaculation" transmutes Fantastic Voyage into a salute to the hard work that goes into a backseat quickie. Tony Randall and Burt Reynolds run the control room ("Maintain hands on breasts! Proceed with erection! All systems go!"), a timorous sperm-paratrooper ponders fate ("I heard sometimes the guys will slam their heads on a wall of rubber"). Sex is comedy. Allen catalogs its flowerings, and asks those without fetishes to cast the first stone. With Anthony Quayle, Erin Fleming, Elaine Giftos, and Heather MacRae.

--- Fernando F. Croce

Back to Reviews
Back Home