The End of Sex tells the story of a married couple (Emily Hampshire and Jonas Chernick) who are feeling the pressures of parenting and adulthood. After they send their young kids to camp for the first time, they embark on a series of comic sexual adventures to reinvigorate their relationship.
The End of Sex tries to be the ultimate empty nester comedy. What do we do now the kids are out of the house? The answer, at least for this couple, you act more like your kids, and experiment with incompatible moods of sexual expression. The resulting frustrations, insecurities, wish fulfillments, misunderstandings are all quite adolescent. The couples one virtue, and adult response is that they talk and argue things out- and reconcile with compromises.
The End of Sex tries to be more sophisticated than it sounds. Lust and laughter run thin. The more the bored married couple try to revitalize their sex life (threesomes, a swinger’s club filled with rejected geriatric extras from Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, taking Ecstasy) the more Sex goes stale. Emma (Emily Hampshire) and Josh (Jonas Chernick, who also did the screenplay) are a totally devoted and square Soccer mom and dad. They exist and function within the scribbles of their children’s lives. Their job is to handle their children’s problems, not to handle theirs. They can’t switch gears. For the audience it’s all suppose to be cringe funny, but it just becomes staid. It’s like being caught on constant diaper duty- it’s shittier than it seems, and definitely not as funny as it looks, despite the fumbling. The bubbly motor mouth comedy style doesn’t add much. This isn’t a classic 1940’s screwball comedy.
Lily Gao, who plays Kelly, Josh’s younger, more sexually experienced co-worker — as well as his confidante — deals with sexual hangups of her own that prove more captivating than that of her married counterparts. Her outre-ness makes Emma’s and Josh’s sex difficulties look vapid and vanilla by comparison. Gao, like the audience caught in Sex’s misfire, seem stuck in the wrong movie. This should have been Gao’s. She and the audience should not have been left holding the diaper.
The End of Sex gets a 2,5 out of 5 or a B-/C+. It’s streaming on Showtime.
- September 10, 2022(TIFF)