This film’s plot, on the surface, reads like a letter sent to Penthouse Forum. Strangely, said letter could have been written by either gender. Two out of work slabs of charming beefcake are mistaken for gigolos at a bar by two gorgeous and successful women. The women discover the truth about their one-night-stand partners but soon propose the idea of keeping them in the pool house as ‘cabana boys’ that will be fed beer and satellite TV until they are called inside for sex. A preposterous fantasy no matter which side you’re on, and one that inevitably leads to two stories of love.
The film opens with a bit of meta-cinema as we witness the four main characters addressing the camera and speaking about different sexual topics, which is something that would become absent until the very end of the film (more info on this in the Special Features area). However, the sexual openness that is established by these monologues remains throughout as all of the characters use this ridiculous situation to explore territory that could not before, both of the sexually adventurous and the emotionally challenging variety.
This film’s marketing has compared it to Sex and the City on numerous occasions. While it is nowhere near as self-indulgent or self-congratulatory as the HBO series turned film, it does have a similar wit when coupling drama and comedy in the different phases of our main character’s relationships with each other. I would even say that this film is often quite funny, borderline hilarious, at points (much more so than Sex and the City, if one insists to compare the two).
The camera is quite shaky when filming the characters up close. Perhaps this is a method of attempting to capture a more documentary feel, in turn appealing to those that watch ‘reality’ TV for their relationship drama fix (the opening monologues visually resemble a Real World-esque style of confession…but don’t quite capture the idiocy).
Things become far less enjoyable as more and more side-characters enter the fray, none of which having the charm or talent of the lead actors (some, such as the fashion agent, are outright annoying). The drama comes to a boil and the story does a decent job of offering a not-quite fairy tale ending to our story, which is satisying.
The DVD case claims it is Full Screen but the bars above and below the picture tell me otherwise. This is 1.85 Widescreen. The picture is mildly hazy at points, again this could be the director going for a digital documentary look since it seems to clear up at more formally filmed points. Either way, the black can be a touchf aded and overall lacking a certain crispness.
A slightly disappointing Dolby Digital 2.0 ‘Surround.’ There is no immersion in this so-called Surround experience. The sound, in stereo, is of good quality which leads me to think that a full 5.1 would have been a nice achievement for this film. Granted, it is talk heavy and does not absolutely require the backing of all speakers blazing.
Deleted Scenes: Mainly consists of all the moments where the characters would address the camera, save for the aforementioned opening monologues. Charming bits that seem to have been cleared off for time purposes (one would assume).
Photo Gallery: A nice complication of black & white stills of images taken during the production. The many shots of boom mics, smiling actors and resting props are run as a slide show to the tune of a couple of radio rock ballads.
Commentary by the director Joel Viertel, writer/actor Stevie Long, actor Johann Urb and composer H. Scott Slainas. Humorous enoughs stuff. Listenable fun.
This is a film that surprised me. The DVD is not the most spellbinding presentation, but the film itself is certainly worth a watch. A preposterous situation that finds itself churning out some real human emotion and worthwhile insight into sex and relationships. It does not necessary answer the question as to whether sex can exist with no strings attached (though “No” would be its answer if it were to try). With a dash of I Love You, Man and, yes, a pinch of Sex and the City, this story becomes the funniest letter to Penthouse I haven’t read.