Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
Like the name implies, there are two films trapped inside director Bryan Poyser's latest effort: "Love" being one half, and "Air Sex" being the other. One film is a sometimes charming, sweet, and funny meditation on love between twenty-somethings, while the other is an aggressively unfunny aside that almost derails the entire film (take a guess at which one is which).
Aspiring filmmaker Stan (Michael Stahl-David) and pre-med student Cathy (Ashley Bell) find love in balmy Austin, but life drives the two to opposite coasts; Stan seeks his dreams under the bright lights of Hollywood, while Cathy heads to the wintery Northeast to attend a prestigious medical school in New York. Six months later, Sean's Hollywood aspirations have landed him in a pizza joint, while Cathy feels disconnected from her med school peers. When Stan catches wind that Cathy is flying home to Austin for the weekend, he can't help but "accidentally" fly home on the same weekend as his ex. The obviousness of Stan's gambit isn't lost on their friends Jeff and Kara, who are in the middle of a breakup of their own. The two ex-lovers try to avoid each other during the weekend, but as one of the characters comments, Austin is a small city, and the pair do threaten to bump into each other, whether by coincidence or by design.
When focusing on the relationships among the four leads, Love and Air Sex works well enough. All four come close to becoming fully rounded characters, and the dialogue is witty enough to entertain. The characters send spiked sexual jabs at each other, while hiding the simmering frustration over lost relationships. Throughout the film, our heroes try some new relationships on for size, and while some of them blossom with probability, others are a halted by old yearnings. Poyser shows a intimate understanding of the awkwardness and comedy of damaged romances, and how admitting one's true feelings can sometimes feel like a herculean labor.
The other half of the title, the "Air Sex," is unfortunately, where the film falls apart. First, let's back up and explain what "Air Sex" actually is: a very real competition where participants are tasked with creating explicit and racy sexual scenarios with a disembodied partner (think air guitar, but with more pelvic thrusts). These sessions of sexual "air-tercourse" get as obscene and vulgar as all get out. But the worst thing about these routines isn't that they're too perverse (and they are pretty perverse), but that they're hardly ever funny or entertaining, and that's a huge fault considering the idea takes up half the title. Jeff uses Air Sex as a scheme to get free beer (the winner of the local Air Sex competition gets to drink free for a year), but it's really an emotional pick-me-up after his break up from Kara. These epic sexual pantomimes go on for minutes at a time and quickly grow annoying. What might have been chuckle worthy sight-gag is ballooned into half of the film's focus, and the Air Sex side plot becomes completely obnoxious as the film grinds into its final act. The biggest crime is that all the time focusing on the Air Sex competition robs the film of time it could have used to put the main characters into better focus. Unless you enjoy sexual wordplay like "Hugh G. Rection" or "F**kasaurus Sex," and a lot of air humping, you might spend much of these sequences rolling your eyes.
Love and Air Sex is a deeply confused film. It wants to be a raunchy comedy and a heartfelt indie romance, but it's constantly weighed down by trying to serve both masters. What's left is a Frankenstein-like mess of a creature that resembles a pleasant romantic comedy sloppily sewed into a terrible raunchy bore. The results are sometimes charming, sometimes groan-inducing, and full of wasted promise.
It’s widely known that when Larry Hagman donned the ten-gallon hat once again for the first table-read of Cynthia Cidre’s pilot script for the 2012 TNT reboot of Dallas, he introduced himself thusly: “Larry Hagman. Icon.”
It’s hard to quibble with that. The relaunched Dallas sure hasn’t. Its hour-long farewell to J.R. Ewing Monday night was poignant, funny, and, above all, reverent for the character in its irreverence. For the actors involved, including Patrick Duffy, who considered Hagman his best friend, it must have been doubly painful because they, in essence, had to bury the man twice: once, after Hagman died of complications from cancer in November 2012, and again when they had to give his infamous alter ego J.R. an equally worthy send-off. Rather than the usual Dallas fanfare of a credits sequence, the theme music was stripped down to a few mournful, “Taps”-like horns before the montage settled on one last lingering close-up of J.R. as Hagman most recently portrayed him on the show—stern, wily, and sporting the wildest pair of eyebrows on TV since Andy Rooney.
In his old age on the new Dallas, J.R. once said “bullets don’t seem to have an effect on me.” Of course he was referencing the most buzzed-out cliffhanger in TV history: when he was shot by an unknown assailant at the end of the spring 1981 season. He survived that assassination attempt. But not this one. Indeed, it was a bullet that ultimately claimed J.R.’s life, when he was gunned down inside a Mexican hotel room after possibly having dealt with a cartel representative and definitely having had relations with a señorita of shady repute. Once again we have to ask the immortal question: “Who shot J.R.?”
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Always a step ahead, it seems J.R. knew in advance who was gunning for him and even left a note for his brothers Bobby and Gary, to that effect. Oh, that’s right. Ted Shackleford’s Gary Ewing, the black sheep of the family who sought refuge in Knot’s Landing, returned! If ever there were an occasion to reenter the Dallas-verse, J.R.’s death was it. On hand were also Charlene Tilton as Lucy Ewing, Bobby and J.R.’s niece; Cathy Podewell as J.R.’s second wife Cally; Deborah Shelton as one of his more memorable mistresses, Mandy; Steve Kanaly as Ewing bastard, and Bobby and J.R.’s half-brother, Ray; and most important of all, a sweet bottle of bourbon in Sue Ellen’s supposedly sober hands.
Ah yes. The moment we’ve longed for/feared is at hand. Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) has resumed her drunken ways. Bourbon and branch water are tempting enough on their own. Bourbon and branch water in a bottle marked “J.R. Ewing” is more tempting still. Bourbon and branch water in a bottle marked “J.R. Ewing” to be imbibed after J.R.’s death and following the reading of a weepy note from him? Totally irresistible. She’ll be back to Betty Ford before the season is out. Her one possible saving grace? She’s at least honest about the fact she’s off the wagon. “I think I have never wanted a drink more than I want one now,” she said at the funeral reception.
Mind you, there was another undesirable return at that reception: Ken Kercheval’s supervillain, Cliff Barnes. He burst in with the fighting words, “I came to pay my disrespects, and good riddance!” then proceeded to call J.R. a “junkyard dog.” He was subdued quickly enough and kicked out, and with no fisticuffs. I suppose Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and John Ross (Josh Henderson) don’t have the stomach to fight an old man, even if he’s an old man hellbent on destroying their family. They didn’t feel the same way about a fellow (much younger) reception guest, however, who decided to call J.R. a “selfish prick.” That led to one of the best exchanges we’ve ever seen between Christopher and John Ross: the former backing off J.R.’s son with a gentle brush of his hand, saying “I got this, cousin,” then taking a slug at the foul-mouthed offender. What would a Ewing family gathering be without a few dislodged teeth? (Oh yeah, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban were also there, but somehow we think they avoided the melee.)
The burial itself, set to the old spiritual “Down to the River to Pray,” was a more moving affair. J.R. was a military man in his day, so he lay in a flag-draped coffin. Everyone had an opportunity to say a few words, and Lucy teared up when it was her turn. She said everything he did seemed so horrible when he did it, but with hindsight it had become apparent that he was the most honest person of all—because he knew what had to be done and did it. Christopher, J.R.’s nephew, said that, since he was adopted, J.R. only let him into the Ewing inner circle once: after his mom, Pam (Victoria Principal, notably absent) walked out. “I don’t know why she left,” J.R. told the grieving boy. “But you’re a Ewing now, so stop crying and behave like one.”
Sue Ellen, soused as can be, said J.R. was “the most infuriating, charming scoundrel [she’d] ever known. He was enough to turn a woman to drink.” Then, admitting that she was drunk even then, read his final letter to her, in which J.R. said his greatest hope in life was the possibility of earning a second chance with her. To start, he asked her out to dinner, if she’d be available upon his return from Mexico.
Bobby was a tad more reflective. “It’s always been easy for me to do good, because I could always count on J.R. to do bad,” he said. “But those bad things were necessary.” Does this mean that one of the most goody-goody characters in all of TV will suddenly take a little walk on the Dark Side, to fill J.R.’s shoes?
After the funeral, Ray and Gary met with Bobby, John Ross, and Christopher to go through J.R.’s effects. It turns out J.R. had recently gone to Abu Dhabi to put together an oil deal that he felt would lure Pam out of hiding. Victoria Principal has repeatedly said she will never return to Dallas, so why the show would decide to throw this particular red herring out there was surprising. As part of his will, he left a handgun for John Ross to protect himself from Cliff Barnes, who surely will be gunning for him. And finally, he left a note for Bobby that presumably named his killer. Bobby, maybe already embracing that Dark Side, decided that they would further the idea that J.R. had been killed randomly by a mugger, while they settled the score against his real killer, in the family way. “I knew you’d have one more up your sleeve, J.R….And it is a good one.” Maybe it was so good, that’s why this episode was called “J.R.’s Masterpiece.”
This was the perfect note for the departure of one of TV’s all-time greatest antiheroes: a note of intrigue. J.R.—and probably Hagman—wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Skip Bolen/TNT]
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7th Heaven actress Katie Cassidy has beaten out Jessica Simpson and Kristin Cavallari to win the coveted role of Lucy Ewing in the big-screen remake of Dallas.
The 19-year-old star is the daughter of former teen idol David Cassidy and the girlfriend of current teen heartthrob Jesse McCartney.
A source tells Us Weekly, "Producers wanted to steer clear of the drama and also thought Katie was simply better for the role."
Charlene Tilton, who played original Lucy on the hit television series, favored Lindsay Lohan over Jessica Simpson for the role, saying, "Jessica is beautiful, but too old.
"I had just turned 17 when we started filming. It's more exciting if Lucy is doing all of these things... out of high school. (Lindsay Lohan) is a great choice."
Cassidy, who is also a singer and model, most recently appeared in Click as Adam Sandler's daughter.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Actress Tracey Gold booked for DUI after car accident
Actress Tracey Gold Marshall, best known for playing Carol Seaver on the hit sitcom Growing Pains, was booked for investigation of felony drunken earlier this month after her sport utility vehicle flipped on a highway in Los Angeles, injuring her husband and two of their three children, The Associated Press reports. Gold Marshall wasn't hurt, but her husband, Roby Marshall, 39, suffered neck injuries, the officer said. The couple's 7-year-old son suffered a broken collarbone and a 5-year-old son was cut, but their 4-month-old son wasn't hurt, California Highway Patrol officer Steve Reid told AP. The actress, 35, spent five hours in jail and was released on $50,000 bail the following day. A court date wasn't immediately available, the highway patrol said.
Baywatch actor charged with DUI
Former Baywatch actor Michael Bergin, who wrote a book about the affair he had with late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr.'s wife, less than a year after she was married, was charged Tuesday with a felony for driving under the influence, AP reports. Bergin was charged in connection with a July 16 incident in Los Angeles in which a professional inline skater, Jennifer Armstrong, was allegedly struck by Bergin's sport utility vehicle and seriously injured. The actor/model was charged with one felony count of DUI causing injury and one misdemeanor count of driving with a blood alcohol level of more than the legal limit of .08 percent. Both counts alleged great bodily injury to the victim, AP reports.
DreamWorks defends Shark Tale
DreamWorks SKG on Tuesday found themselves on the defensive after their upcoming animated film Shark Tale was criticized for ethnic slurs against Italian-Americans, Reuters reports, who say the movie's gangster-like shark characters foster ethnic stereotypes. The New York-based Columbus Citizens Foundation joined an outcry from Italian-American groups condemning the film. "The movie introduces young minds to the idea that people with Italian names--like millions of Americans across the country--are gangsters," Columbus Citizens president Lawrence Auriana said in a statement. Studio spokesman Andy Spahn, however, said the emphasis of the film's humor was on pop culture and Hollywood parodies, similar to DreamWorks' hit storybook satires Shrek and Shrek 2. "It's a family comedy that pokes fun at a number of film genres," Spahn told Reuters. "It doesn't demean anyone, there are no negative stereotypes. There is nothing mean-spirited in the film."
Speaking of Italian-Americans…
Martin Scorsese is being sued for breach of contract by a production company, Hollywood Gang Prods., who claim the director reneged on a promise to undergo a medical checkup as required to obtain insurance coverage during work on an upcoming film, Reuters reports. The lawsuit said Scorsese had agreed in February to "submit to such physical examination" before working on the period drama Silence but had ignored repeated requests to fulfill that commitment. "All we want to do is stick a thermometer in him," Richard Golub, the lawyer for Hollywood Gang, told Reuters on Tuesday.
ABC airs Trump segment alongside The Apprentice
ABC News' newsmagazine show Primetime Live launches its new season with a segment on Donald Trump Thursday at 10 p.m.--smack dab in the middle of the real estate mogul's hit NBC reality show The Apprentice, which will air its supersized episode from 9:20-11 p.m. "I'm a ratings machine," Trump told Reuters Tuesday. "So they figured, hey, we'll do a story on Trump. I do get big ratings, as you know." But Trump is worried the Primetime Live segment could be biased because reporter Chris Cuomo might have an ax to grind. Trump has often criticized Cuomo's father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. "I've openly said to anyone who wants to listen that he's the worst governor in the history of New York," Trump said. ABC, meanwhile, said the segment is fair.
Chubby B-listers take Body Challenge
Former Brady Bunch stars Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen, who portrayed Peter and Cindy Brady respectively, will join Erik Estrada (ChiPS' Ponch) and Charlene Tilton (Dallas' Lucy) in Discovery Health Channel's Body Challenge: Hollywood, a 12-week health and fitness competition. The participants were given personal trainers and nutritionists to help in their transformation. Reuters reports the 47-year-old Knight lost 50 percent of his fat mass during the competition, and is now considering working in the entertainment industry again. The four-episode Body Challenge: Hollywood, which was filmed last December, premieres Sept. 14.
NYC renames street for Law & Order
New York City yesterday renamed a short road that heads to Pier 62 on Manhattan's West Side "Law & Order Way," in honor of the NBC show's 15th anniversary, AP reports. The location is where the show's offices are located and many of its episodes shot. "New York City is as much a part of every Law & Order ensemble as the actors," series creator Dick Wolf said. Veteran actor Dennis Farina, a former police officer, is joining the show's cast this season as actor Jesse L. Martin's detective partner, replacing Jerry Orbach. Orbach is heading to the drama's new spinoff Law & Order: Trial By Jury, which is scheduled to begin shooting next month for a possible January premiere.
Snoop Dogg hosts VGAs
Hip-hop star Snoop Dogg will host Spike TV's second annual Video Game Awards on Dec. 14. Snoop has appeared as himself in several video games, including True Crime: Streets of L.A. and NBA Live 2003, and will appear in the Def Jam: Fight for NY, which hits stores Sept. 20. The rapper and other celebs will pass out awards that include the categories Best Games Based on Movie, Best Music, Best Performance by a Human, Most Anticipated and Most Addictive.