GROUP SEX

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 10, 2010

What do you expect when you prepare to view a film entitled “Group Sex?” Either you’re getting ready for some adult entertainment or you are viewing the new Lawrence Trilling film. The only elements piquing my interest towards the film were (1) discovering a new dimension to the “Heroes” star Greg Grunberg (who plays the lewd, uncensored best friend and colleague, Jerry), (2) continuing my support for gorgeous starlet Odette Yustman, and (3) revisiting the oldies but goodies Tom Arnold and Henry Winkler.

With such a worthless title, the film reveals itself to be not an entire waste of time. The overall feel of the film has a striking resemblance to the 2002 release, “The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest” starring Adam Garcia (of “Coyote Ugly” and “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” fame) and Rosario Dawson. Both films were produced on a lower budget yet contained a well-endowed cast and a glimpse of heart in the storytelling. Tom Arnold blips on the radar with a hilarious performance, showing that if you release him into a comedy, he is bound to produce at least some positive results.

Greg Grunberg plays a friend-turned-villain-turned-friend character better than anticipated. Instead of disregarding him due to his role as Matt Parkman, the good guy cop on the television show “Heroes,” he chameleons effectively into the role of the jerk, part of which is surely done to the co-writer credit attached to his name.

Odette Yustman is proving to be a lasting up-and-comer, from “Kindergarten Cop” (1990) to an extra in “Transformers” (2007) (bet you didn’t notice her… I didn‘t), to the “Unborn” (2009), “Operation: Endgame” (2010), and now “Group Sex” (2010). With a convincing performance as a sex addict, Yustman continues her rise to the top, perhaps, if she plays her cards right, even following in the footsteps of Rosario Dawson.

Do not let the title mislead you, the film is not just a raunchy sex comedy. The film does have its moments of raunch, but the film is ultimately a love story, where shy main character Andy (Josh Cooke) falls for Yustman’s character at first sight. In the midst of stalking her, he stumbles into her Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting and embodies the life of his sex addict friend, Jerry, to continue the charade in order to stay close to his new love interest. As the antics unfold, Andy makes new friends and in the array of all his lies, harshly learns the true meaning of self-identity and love.

“Group Sex suffers” from lack of direction and tightknit storytelling. The climax of the film is forced and predictable, feeling more like a stage play than a film by the end. Without the decent cast and off-beat nature of the film, “Group Sex” would be nothing but a raunchy, worthless piece of garbage. But with the right mixture of cast and creative scenarios, “Group Sex” rises higher than the low standards the title instills upon it.

RELEASE DATE
August 24, 2010

DIRECTOR
Lawrence Trilling

WRITTEN BY
Lawrence Trilling
Greg Grunberg

STUDIO
GS Films

R
(for strong crude sexual dialogue, sexuality, nudity and language throughout)

COMEDY
92 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Michael D. O’Shea

COMPOSER
Sporto

EDITOR
Rob Seidenglanz

CAST
Josh Cooke
Greg Grunberg
Odette Yustman
Henry Winkler
Tom Arnold
Rob Benedict
Lisa Lampanelli
Greg Germann

PRODUCED BY
Greg Grunberg
Frank Rainone
Artist W. Robinson
Lawrence Trilling

BUDGET
$13 million

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