A Little Sex (1982)

a little sex 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: He can’t stay faithful.

Michael (Tim Matheson) gets married to Katherine (Kate Capshaw) after living with her for a year. He had a habit of sleeping around and having a lot of one-night-stands, but makes a pledge to change. However, the temptations are too strong and he ends up cheating on her and getting caught and then spends the rest of the film trying desperately to win her back.

Bruce Paltrow, who was the father of Gwenyth and the husband of Blythe Danner directs this very minor production that is generic and predictable throughout. The story and production values seem better suited for television and this doesn’t even seem like an 80’s movie, but more a remnant from the touchy, feely 70’s. The plot is empty and fails to gain any momentum with dialogue that is stale and boring.

Although billed as a comedy there really isn’t much that is funny and few moments that become heavy-handed and melodramatic. One scene has the couple pretending to make love while under the covers of a bed that is in the middle of a storeroom with the other customers and a very nervous saleslady looking on that had potential, but doesn’t go on long enough. Another segment has some first grade school girls that Katherine teaches intently listening to a video tape of Michael telling them a story. I was amazed at how enraptured the children were because I found the tale to be dull and vapid, but then having all the girls become teary-eyed at the end of it goes overboard.

Capshaw, who has been married to Steven Spielberg for over twenty years and has five children with him, is vivacious in her film debut. She looks beautiful and far better looking than any of the other women that Michael fools around with. Matheson is liable enough, but his character is bland and no ability to carry the film.

The supporting cast comes off better although John Glover and Wallace Shawn are essentially wasted. Edward Herrmann is a delight as Michael’s friend Tommy and has the best lines in the whole movie. Joan Copland is amusing as Katherine’s mother especially when she compares marriage to death in one conversation and then later compares it to war. It is also great to see Wendie Malick playing a sultry clarinetist who is now starring in the ‘Hot in Cleveland’ TV-show and looks like she hasn’t aged a day since appearing in this.

I am a big fan of Melissa Manchester and she has done a lot of great songs, but her opening song here ‘Your Place or Mine’ has to be one of her worst although I did like the extreme close-up of a cigarette being lit and then watching it slowly burn, which is the film’s one and only interesting cinematic moment.

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Released: April 2, 1982

Runtime: 1Hour 35Minutes

Rated R

Director: Bruce Paltrow

Studio: Universal

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix streaming

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