Love and Sex (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Time to test your cultural literacy and whether you've been paying attention.

Naked in New York is to Woody Allen

as Life is Beautiful is to Robin Williams

as Love and Sex is to Sandra Bullock

Explain why.

OK, pencils down, pass your blue books forward. Naked in New York is a Woody Allen movie (emotionally insecure red-headed self-consciously Jewish New York writer ....... ) that has absolutely nothing to do with Woody Allen. Life is Beautiful is a Robin Williams movie without Robin Williams. And Love and Sex is a Sandra Bullock movie with Famke Janssen instead of Sandra.

Actually, I gave you full credit if you said that Sandra Bullock's name should be replaced by Doris Day. It's a 1950's romantic comedy told from the woman's point of view, where people keep their clothes on during sex, except when they are hidden under the covers.

It chronicles the relationship between Famke and Jon Favreau, the designated chubby guy in all pseudo-hip movies and TV shows. (The Replacements, Swingers, "Friends", Very Bad Things, and about a million more. This guy must work more than Michael Caine.) I think he's good - he always manages to breathe some life into roles, and make them real, even if they are poorly written cartoons. In this case, he has a fairly well-written character to work with, and he does OK.

Is the flick any good? It's OK. Not the best Sandra Bullock movie, but not the worst either. If you like Sandra Bullock movies, you'll probably think it's good enough.

There are some good moments. When their relationship is in the doldrums, Favreau and Janssen argue about which movie to rent. She wants the German expressionist classic, "Nosferatu", and he wants "Ninjeta", a film about topless female ninjas who infiltrate the mob in Little Italy.

I think I may have seen that film. Is Dolph Lundgren in that? Oh, wait a minute, that was Little Tokyo, not Little Italy. Why does Italy get a little country in New York, and Japan only get one stinkin' little city? Why is it Little Tokyo instead of Little Japan? I guess that's one of the things man is not meant to know, like the secret of creating life, and what Cher would actually look like without surgery.


Maybe I didn't watch this closely enough. The box says it contains brief nudity. It was too brief for me to see it.

Famke was in several "very passionate" love scenes, in which she kept her clothes on.

I wonder if New York has a Little Estonia section?

By the way, Famke later ends up dating the star of "Ninjeta" after she breaks up with Favreau.

A thought or two on the nudity thing.

It seems to me there is nearly an direct correlation between acting ability and nudity. The better the actress, the more likely she is to do nudity. An actress like Kate Winslet or Helena Bonham Carter or Angelina Jolie or Julianne Moore or Emily Watson or Sigourney Weaver is likely to say "how the hell can you act natural in a scene where a guy is carried away by passion and won't remove your bra. And he climbs on you with his underpants on. Then, later, you both stay covered by the bed linens, as if you were in some kind of Amish bundling ritual."

DVD info from Amazon.

The DVD will be released January 30. I saw the VHS version

But then there are actresses who don't care at all if the scenes they act in are totally unrealistic. Strange to think how much the world has changed in thirty years. Now only the greatest actresses get naked. All the fluffball actress like Buffy and Famke and Bullock and JLH stay clothed. I must have missed something along the way. Three decades ago, doing nudity was kind of a sign that you were not a serious actress, and actresses wouldn't do it for fear that they wouldn't be offered the biggest and best parts. Now, it seems to be the opposite.

Think about it. You are casting a new Lady Macbeth in your mind. Chances are if a woman is a good enough actress to play the part, she is an actress who is willing to do nudity. Strange, eh?

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: So-so. two and a half. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 3/4.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. So-so 58% positive, 50% fromt he top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.5.
  • With their dollars ... a bomb. never hit a million, never made it to 100 screens.

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