From American Pie to Porky's, most sex comedies entice audiences with gorgeous juveniles, raging hormones, dirty humor, and lots of gratuitous nudity. Never Again twists the genre and buries the juvenile clichés...but, unfortunately, it isn't a pleasant change. All the sex stays, but the film replaces the juveniles with wrinkly senior citizens. I never thought I'd say this, but I'd much rather watch teens poking their genitals into fruit pies!
Indeed, it is truly as disgusting as it sounds: a sex comedy with old people. Yuk! The movie, on the other hand, argues that young people aren't the only sexually active people in society. That's true; I'm sure old people have sex all the time. Heck, they can screw three times a day for all I care. But please, for the love of God, keep it off the silver screen!
Romance between the elderly has worked before, like in the affectionate film festival favorite, Innocence. That film had very steamy scenes between old people, but those very mature moments captured intimate passion the characters felt for each other. Never Again features Jill Clayburgh sporting a strap-on dildo--not really a sign of maturity. Such moments offer big laughs, but they really don't coincide with the movie's desire to be a tender, passionate romance.
The movie studies Christopher and Grace (Jeffrey Tambor and Jill Clayburgh), two lonely New Yorkers in their fifties. The sloppy screenplay avoids voiceover narration by giving the leads obligatory best friends with whom the characters can spill their guts and discuss nasty, private things. In one scene, Grace discusses her sex life, using pornographic vocabulary, to her hair stylist. Why a woman in her fifties would talk about such things with her hair stylist, I have no idea.
But anyway, she's divorced and he's never married. Neither Christopher nor Grace believes another romance is impossible. But when they meet at a gay bar (don't ask) and go out for a meal, they decide they like each other. Eventually, they agree that, as long as they don't "fall in love," it's acceptable to have as much sex as they'd like. To his great astonishment, during their first encounter in bed, Christopher actually makes love to Grace without the assistance of Viagra. Actually, this is the only surprise the movie has to offer.
Writer/director Eric Schaeffer (If Lucy Fell) earns some credit for taking advantage of many golden opportunities. One particular moment reminds us of a scene from the infamous American Pie 2, where parents unknowingly interrupt lovemaking between their teenagers. Never Again uses the same concept, but this time it's the teenagers who interrupt Grace and Christopher. There's an amusing irony to see the tables turned on this genre.
But in the end, it's just plain gross to watch a sex comedy with actors in their fifties. Few people that age are sexy; Jeffery Tambor and Jill Clayburgh are not among them. No matter how hard the movie tries to make them attractive, her face is too wrinkly and his gut sticks out way too far. At least the movie avoids the genre's usual gratuitous nudity.
"I'm not wearing any pants."