10 Rules for Sleeping Around Review

668

10_rules_for_sleeping_around_2013_1


10 Rules for Sleeping Around (2013)

Cast: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tammin Sursok, Jesse Bradford
Director: Leslie Greif
Country: USA
Genre: Comedy | Romance
Official Trailer: Here


Editor’s Note: 10 Rules for Sleeping Around is now open in limited release and on VOD

“I’m reaching for the bottom” chirp the peppy pop lyrics of the song over which 10 Rules for Sleeping Around’s opening credits unfold, and oh what an apt sentiment it is. Leslie Greif’s soi-disant sex comedy reaches for the bottom and doesn’t stop there, sinking beneath the surface to new chthonic depths of cinematic depravity. “I have standards,” an affronted character at one point insists, his accuser retorting “about as low as a limbo stick”. But limbo’s the game of how low can you go, and where matters of taste are concerned few can claim the kind of flexibility with which this film slips under the bar. “You just have to scream” goes another of the opening lyrics; reader, dear reader, you really do.

“I have standards,” an affronted character at one point insists, his accuser retorting “about as low as a limbo stick”. But limbo’s the game of how low can you go, and where matters of taste are concerned few can claim the kind of flexibility with which this film slips under the bar.

10_rules_for_sleeping_around_2013_3It’s women to whom the movie’s poster is tailored, with its strewn lingerie, handheld stilettos, and “Now it’s our turn” tagline, an advertising approach every bit as out of touch with even the faintest frisson of sense as the film at large. As much as the upscale urbanite whose opening exposition explains the title as the founding principles of an open marriage seems set to match her husband’s free-loving ways, it’s a mere moment before she’s confessing that monogamy’s more her thing. A smarter sex comedy might have him come to the same conclusion, but no: from their opening outlining to their “bonus” post-credits restatement, all the eponymous guidelines of 10 Rules for Sleeping Around have to teach us is that love is for women, sex for men.

But only straight men, of course! Cos as much as they love having it, gay sex is just gross. That’s the thinking behind half the humour striven for here; so much of the plot is built around the hilarity of homosexuality, from the faux affectations of a party planner to the novel notion of men actually sleeping together. If the sexual politics of Greif’s script are deeply distressing, it’s at least aware that women actually exist; amidst all the various contrived plot pretences, the only legitimately queer character we meet in the film is one who proudly admits he’ll “fuck anything”. What shocking stuff from a man whose career’s key credit is co-creating Walker, Texas Ranger.

If the sexual politics of Greif’s script are deeply distressing, it’s at least aware that women actually exist; amidst all the various contrived plot pretences, the only legitimately queer character we meet in the film is one who proudly admits he’ll “fuck anything”.

10_rules_for_sleeping_around_2013_4“Screw it, we’ll fix it in post,” shrugs a character who’s trailed by a camera crew, echoing an attitude evident in the edits. Greif’s dearth of concessions toward coverage leaves cutter Richard Nord—one of six Oscar-nominated for The Fugitive—scrambling to make matches free from glaring continuity errors. He fails, often phenomenally, limbs drastically dislocated from shot to shot; here, at least, the film’s fidelity to the physicality of the human body is on par with its take on the mind. Only when it comes to cutting around a recurring male nude does the editing ever perk up, lest we be beset by the sight of a bodily appendage; the concluding party scene, of course, is bare breasts in spades.

There’s nary a crew or cast member emerges any less scathed than Nord; from the piercingly peppy score to the demeaning pop-up appearances by old Michael McKean, each contribution is an act of collaboration that can’t ever be forgiven. Of course it’s being with a man he has in mind when one character cautiously insists “I would do anything. ALMOST anything.” Had the movie’s maker only the same standards, the world might just have been spared. Here is a film in which a rape gag might seem classy—no really, it finds funniness in rape awareness instead—a film that’s as vile in function as it is in form. “I defy definition” is another of those opening lyrics, but 10 Rules for Sleeping Around does not. It is the year’s worst movie, and it will not be surpassed.

0.4 UNBEARABLE

10 Rules for Sleeping Around is the year’s worst movie, and it will not be surpassed.

  • 0.4
Share.

About Author

Ronan Doyle is an Irish freelance film critic, whose work has appeared on Indiewire, FilmLinc, Film Ireland, FRED Film Radio, and otherwhere. He recently contributed a chapter on Arab cinema to the book Celluloid Ceiling, and is currently entangled in an all-encompassing volume on the work of Woody Allen. When not watching movies, reading about movies, writing about movies, or thinking about movies, he can be found talking about movies on Twitter. He is fuelled by tea and has heard of sleep, but finds the idea frightfully silly.