EIFF REVIEW: Sex After Kids a riot of awkward encounters
It was a stroke of genius to cast veteran Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent as a sexual therapist in Sex After Kids, a comedy which to name is to know. It plays Saturday, Sept. 28 as part of the Edmonton International Film Festival.
But it is really necessary for him to tell us, “Kids are not good for your sex life”?
Parents know this all too well. From love and marriage and a baby carriage to – after years of packing lunches and bandaging boo-boos and driving to ballet lessons – suddenly having an empty nest to discover the person you once lusted after has turned into a fatter, wrinkly stranger, the lack of quantity and quality of good sex after parenthood is well documented. Jeremy LaLonde’s insightful, outrageous comedy takes a bold look at this cruel fact of nature from almost every possible angle. At least there’s company in misery.
The stories of unfulfillment revolve around an extended Modern Family menagerie of quirky characters, who have each had their sex lives turned upside down by children. A new dad has kept count the last time he had sex: 359 days, 11 hours. His wife only gets horny when she’s doing laundry. A single dad with relationship issues breaks up with his latest girlfriend after she calls him “daddy” in the heat of the moment. A lesbian couple are at each other’s throats over who is to take the real “mommy” role. A ditzy single mom has lost the ability to have coherent conversations with potential lovers. Grandpa Horton, meanwhile, wants to rekindle his marriage after his youngest daughter finally leaves home, but discovers to his shock he never knew the exact location of his wife’s clitoris. His wife wants to try anal sex. She says, “It’s not just for homosexuals anymore.”
Much more than just one awkward and hilarious sexual encounter after another, Sex After Kids offers deep insights into the nature of sex, love and marriage. Truly touching moments shine through the farce. Fidelity, sanity and dignity are put to the test as the troubled couples try to reconnect with the essential human activity that made them parents to begin with.
Pinsent, as Dr. Keaton, pops in every so often as the voice of authority, as the large ensemble cast delivers convincing performances in situations ranging from ridiculous to heartbreaking. Of course, the squalling, needy, adorable babies are never far away.
While there aren’t any mockumentary moments, there is a note of Christopher Guest to this film. Jay Brazeau – who was the couples canine therapist in “Best in Show” – plays grandpa Horton, who along with Mimi Kuzyk as grandma Dolores, deliver poignant moments, but also many of the laughs. Because, as any kid knows, there is nothing funnier than the mere idea of your parents having sex.