The 1980’s was littered with sex-comedies. They were a dime-a-dozen and though I was a fan of many of them, they were pretty much all the same. 1988’s Casual Sex? was quite a bit different though. It didn’t feel like cheap exploitation and that is largely due to it being written and directed by women, with the lead characters being not only intelligent, but also generally good people. Produced by Ivan Reitman and directed by his wife Geneviève Robert, Casual Sex? left a lasting impression on me, even if it wasn’t that great of a film.
Stacy (Lea Thompson) has led a promiscuous life in her young adult life. She would sleep with guys as a-way-to get to know them and would constantly find herself in a string of bad relationships. This is until the AIDS virus became headlines. Stacy’s best friend Melissa (Victoria Jackson) hasn’t been with many men at all, and she is generally quite shy and willing to settle with almost anyone who gives her attention.
The two friends decide to spend their vacation at the Oasis health spa resort for singles. That way, they know whomever they meet is someone that likes to practice a healthy lifestyle. While Stacy finds herself in a romance with Oasis employee/aspiring musician Nick (Stephen Shellen), Melissa gets rejected by Matthew (Peter Dvorsky). What she doesn’t realize is that one of the staff members, Jamie (Jerry Levine) is into her.
One of the big stand-outs for me though, would be comedian Andrew Dice Clay in his first major film role as Vinny. It’s pretty much the Dice-man being the Dice-man, but with an added sense of vulnerability that works. The final act twist still gets me to this day.
It’s kind of hard for me to watch Casual Sex? now and not think about Victoria Jackson’s political and religious views. Yet, I still like her and Thompson here. The Screenplay by Wendy Goldman and Judy Toll has some great lines scattered throughout and together they created something quite likable. While the laughs are few and far between, I am still a fan.
By: Marc Ferman