By LIAM LACEY
Saturday, June 14, 2008
YOUNG PEOPLE F***ING
Directed by Martin Gero
Written by Martin Gero
and Aaron Abrams
Starring Carly Pope, Kristen Booth and Peter Oldring
The most inspired element in Martin Gero and co-writer Aaron Abrams film is its title, blazoned in screen-filling letters in the opening credits. Obviously, some young filmmakers were listening when the bureaucrats were demanding that Canadians start making films Canadians want to see. Unfortunately, it was a bold enough move to awaken even right-wing politicians, perhaps leading to the infamous Bill C-10 to limit funding to morally objectionable material. Talk about damned if you do or don't.
In the meantime, critics can find some solace in the fact that Young People Fucking is never as outrageous as its title: A comedy about attractive middle-class young folks talking their way through embarrassing relationship issues, it could be called Friends with Benefits: Everyone's white, urban, straight and reasonably attractive and it would be no surprise if some enterprising American cable channel picked it up for a regular Friday night series.
Director Martin Gero and co-writer Aaron Abrams are nothing if not calculated - they're like seducers who work to a pre-made mix-tape and lights on a dimmer. The tightly schematic film follows four couples plus a threesome, over a single night, from foreplay to afterglow. A jaded seducer and a sweet young thing (Callum Blue and Diora Baird) go on a first date with a predictable flip. In the Best Friends episode, an aggressive woman and her doubtful best friend (Carly Pope and Aaron Abrams) decide to cross the friendship barrier, if they can only agree on the right music.
In The Couple, Kristin Booth and Josh Dean are struggling with the first pangs of bedroom boredom. In The Exes, Sonja Bennett and Josh Cooke struggle with too much baggage for a meaningless encounter. Finally, in The Threesome (Peter Oldring, Natalie Lisinska and Ennis Esmer) an insecure man decides to give his girlfriend a present of his doleful but well-endowed roommate.
Although Gero has impressive control of pacing, the performances and chemistry of the different couples are uneven. The first-date scenario - a British stud (Blue) is trying to change his ways when taking the apparently innocent office girl (Baird) home - feels like an overextended Fringe theatre exercise. The highlight is the story of the square young couple (Booth and Dean), experimenting with their first sexual device, earning perhaps the only laugh-out-loud moment in the movie.
The morally panicked guardians should really relax a little, slip into something more comfortable, get a massage. Since young people engaging in carnal activities isn't the kind of thing you can actually cut off at the source, they should be grateful for a movie that shows that sex has an emotionally vulnerable and funny side.