Looking for a film to go see in theaters, rent or stream? You’ve come to the right place. This week, Cineast previews 10 Rules for Sleeping Around, Les Infedéles and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
10 Rules for Sleeping Around
A titillating title, but anyone the least bit familiar with Hollywood’s attitude toward relationships knows that 10 Rules for Sleeping Around will end up enshrining monogamy as the only route to happiness. The film, which feels like a half-baked remake of 1967’s jokey A Guide for the Married Man (a film that was itself only half-baked), presents two couples: the green, soon-to-be-married Ben and Kate, currently monogamous, and the already-married-awhile Vince and Cameron, who have a sexually promiscuous “open marriage” that they claim keeps things “hot” for them. There follows a predictable chain of events whereby the promiscuous couple prove themselves to be dupes and fools, while monogamy is shown to be the path of true love. While this may be the case in real life, at this point it would be far more interesting to see a film that went the other way. The movie takes many wrong turns, the most unfortunate of which is the use of the specter of homosexuality to get laughs as the biggest danger facing the straight, promiscuous man. However, Michael McKean lends his dignity to the proceedings, and some of the film is supposedly set in the Hamptons.
Leave it to the French to make a timely response to 10 Rules For Sleeping Around. Les Infedéles comprises eight short vignettes of serial philanderers Fred and Greg in eight contrasting episodes of infidelity. Fred and Greg seem to know all of the rules, and meet with spectacular success, and apparently feel not the slightest amount of compunction. Of course, what they are doing is reprehensible, but they lack even the impulse to question themselves or their motivations for treating their spouses so badly. It sounds creepy, but it’s a welcome contrast to 10 Rules for Sleeping Around.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
With the success of his serious acting in the Oscar-nominated Philomena, it’s no doubt hoped that the brilliant British comic actor Steve Coogan’s lighter work might find a higher profile in the U.S. It could be tricky, however, as Coogan’s very British brand of humor has no obvious constituency in this country. Case in point: in Alan Partridge, Coogan plays the titular character, a washed-up former TV personality, now reduced to small-town radio but reluctant to accept his fall from grace. It’s just the kind of anti-heroic, funny/tragic character that British audiences love but that American audiences tend to reject—think of the unredeemed loser that Ricky Gervais played on the original British version of The Office. We don’t DO that kind of pessimism in America, and so the comedy that has made Coogan a superstar in his native country will probably never do the same for him here.