Scenes of a Sexual Nature Ed Blum

Scenes of a Sexual Nature Ed Blum
Sorry, horn dogs, there’s no actual sex (and mostly just talk) in this British comedy of manners set on Hampstead Heath. This would be fine if the film possessed a keen mind and razor-sharp wit but alas, its insights are the archetypal "film about relationships” ones that won’t shock the readers of Cosmopolitan.

It’s actually quite nebulous in purpose: a variety of actors (among them Ewan McGregor, Sophie Okenedo and Gina McKee) represent a variety of couples as they enjoy the nice spring weather and talk of things romantic. A married man gazes longingly at a young girl reading L’etranger, a couple break up only to have the woman hit on by an idiot, an older man and woman discover that they’re each other’s childhood sweethearts and so on, covering divorce, gay adoption, middle-aged panic and other assorted topics.

Sadly, none of these matters are dealt with anything resembling incisiveness, with the characters offering run-of-the-mill cant that stays on the surface and fails completely to define their situations. In truth, writer Aschlin Ditta and director Ed Blum seem less like they’re getting to the bottom of something that deeply concerns them and more like they’re engaging in a make-work project designed to ride some hot button issues without really exploring them.

The attempts at humour are strained, the thesis statement dialogue is wooden, and while the actors do remarkably well under the circumstances they don’t exactly have very far to go. I remember cringing at this sort of thing when my fellow students did it in art/theatre/film school, though I never imagined anything of the sort would actually make it to the screen intact. (Mongrel Media)