82 minutes | Rated: R
Opened: Friday, September 25, 1998
Written & directed by Troy Beyer

Starring Troy Beyer, Paget Brewster, Randi Ingerman, Joseph C. Phillips, Michaline Babich & Tina Nguyen

This film got a dishonorable mention on the Worst of 1998 list.
Staged documentary confessions drive amateurish sex talk indie

A guerrilla indie pic attempt at revealing the raw, graphic and honest conversations women have about sex amongst themselves, "Let's Talk About Sex" is mess of amateurish filmmaking, shopworn dysfunctional relationships and frank, sometimes fictionalized confessionals picked for shock-value. It feels like a post-feminist, fake documentary version on kind of cheap, titillating crap Cinemax runs in the middle of the night.

Written, directed by and starring Troy Beyer, a supporting-player actress whose first screenwriting effort was the unforgivably abysmal "B.A.P.S.," this picture had a rather creative inception in woman-on-the-street interviews with twentysomething Jane Q. Publics opening up about every aspect of their sex lives.

But Beyer uses these confessional interviews largely as a foundation for an insipid story about the generically screwed-up intimacy issues faced by three Miami roommates played by Beyer, Randi Ingerman and Paget Brewster (who was once had a San Francisco-based TV talk show you can read about here).

Her first misstep was to stage additional, scripted interviews when she didn't get the spectrum of lascivious detail she was looking for from the spontaneous footage. The fake interviews are ridiculously obvious among the real ones and were clearly designed to broadcast insistently that sexual freedom is wonderful and liberating for women -- as if Beyer is trying to convince not only the audience, but herself.

Vulgarity and giggling is the order of the day as a variety of photogenic chicks take turns boasting, bitching, divulging and demonstrating sexual technique. (Two clips illustrating oral sex aptitude on a cucumber and a peach were axed to placate an oddly prudish MPAA for an "R" rating).

Occasionally Beyer opts for base titillation that undermines any empowerment message she's trying to put across. She'd tell you the fantasy sequence with four women having lunch in a restaurant topless was part of the empowerment message, as if this is something women would do if they could. But if that's so, why doesn't Beyer do the scene herself?

All this videotaped testimony is shot under the poorly-scripted guise of Beyer's character trying to get funding for a "Girl Talk" talk show. Meanwhile she and her roomies take turns having uninteresting emotional breakdowns every 10 minutes over infertility (Beyer), inability to break cycles of dependency (Ingerman) and fear of intimacy (Brewster). Only Brewster's scene in which she confronts her scornful mother is even remotely engaging.

"Let's Talk About Sex" attempts to capture to the same kind of sexually robust and emotionally perplexed audience as "Sex in the City," HBO's smart, sexy sitcom starring Sarah Jessica Parker. But even without comparing the two, this movie fails in every important respect.

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