Young People Doing That Thing They Do - Complications Ensue
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Saturday, June 28, 2008


My writer buddy Doug T and I went to see YOUNG PEOPLE F***ING, which of course turns out to be as much romantic comedy as sex comedy. I think had the parliamentarians excoriating it actually seen it, they would have felt it was fairly tame by today's standards. Certainly there's nothing you couldn't air on Showtime or Showcase, and, with the exception of one shot of breasts, possibly nothing you couldn't see on broadcast at 10 pm. If anything, you'd wonder if young women these days really prefer to have sex with their bras on.

What you get, instead, is a rather charming series of vignettes about, yeah, young people involved in various sexual encounters. It's a relationship movie about a first date, two exes having a date, a couple, a pair of friends and a pair of roommates. The stories go in different directions, from happily romantic to bittersweet to mildly messed up.

The actors are some of the most charming people you will see on the screen. And that's always fun.

Doug and I like to story edit movies after we see them. Our criticism would be that the movie doesn't go particularly deep. Maybe it didn't want to, and that's a valid commercial point. I don't know if a deeper movie would have got made as fast or been as entertaining. But if it had combined a little more insight with its superb observation of couples, it could have been great instead of merely très fun.

For example [SPOILERS...]:

The exes are adorable together. They obviously love each other in spite of their protestations that they're "over" each other. But what keeps them apart? Shouldn't we see the parts of their relationship that tore them apart? Could there be flashes of little "let's not go there" moments that they know they have to ignore for the evening to work -- but which make plain why they might not want to pick up their relationship again?

Likewise, the friends: what has kept them from sleeping together? Why has it taken this long for them to get together? The math don't add up. Dude, your best friend is Carly Pope and you haven't tried to jump her bones already?

Which brings up the old casting issue: cast real or cast pretty? YPF chose to cast pretty. I got nothing against pretty. I'd rather watch pretty people in bed, too.

But if you cast a young Janeane Garofalo type in the role of Kris, I might be willing to suspend my disbelief that her best friend had never tried anything.

(Though personally, if I weren't spoken for, I'd probably fall for Janeane G before I fell for Carly P. But that's me.)

Or: establish that they tried this once before. And it was a disaster. Or they've tried this before, many times, and it's never added up to anything more than Friends With Benefits.

Drama is all about obstacles. I felt YPF could have made some of the obstacles a bit bigger.

But for all that, it is an adorable movie. Sexy, funny, sweet and bittersweet.

If you see it with a date, you'll probably get lucky. And honestly, what better reason is there to go to a romantic comedy?

UPDATE: YPF platforms in late August in New York and LA.

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2 Comments:

Wait, how did you get to see it? I can't figure out what theaters it's playing at, and I live in LA!

By Blogger Matt, at 7:53 PM  

Sorry, but I just saw the film and thought it was a real disappointment for some of the reasons you allude to when you say the film isn't deep. It isn't deep. But also, the scenes are mere skits; the characters are ciphers.

I think the big mistake the writers made was choosing to focus on the night of the coupling. Doing that denied us back stories and reasons to care about these characters. But it also messed up the night of fucking, too. That's because those scenes were riddled with a lot of overwrought dialog, dialog in which they were telling their back story to the audience instead of talking to each other. Watching one out of five couples become overly talkative when they should be fucking could be funny; watching five couples behave that way is really frustrating.

But I do think it's sweet that you and Doug went together. Ha ha.

By Blogger David, at 8:33 PM  

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