Seeing Other People Movie Review

Wallace Wolodarsky's Seeing Other People is a comedy that's supposed to be about how sexual temptation can really screw up a relationship, but it's more illustrative of how a relationship can really screw up a comedy.

Ed (Jay Mohr) and Alice (Julianne Nicholson) are an engaged couple on the brink of a rut. Alice, who is relatively inexperienced sexually, suggests that before they get married they should both be allowed to engage in casual sex for an undetermined period of time. Ed is initially skeptical, but agrees after much prodding. The couple then embarks on a series of sexual misadventures; Alice takes up with Donald (Matthew Davis), a needy hunk of a landscaper, and Ed finds himself with Sandy (Jill Ritchie), college-aged girl. But the film's actual, inexplicable focus is the endless bickering between Ed and Alice, whose feelings about this arrangement flip-flop about once every two or three minutes, expressed through an endlessly flowing river of unfunny dialogue.

It's really in all this talk that Seeing Other People fails to come together; there are big laughs in the corners of this movie. A wonderfully hangdog Andy Richter, as one of Ed's friends, has a subplot in which he woos a divorcee with a young son; it has little-to-nothing to do with the rest of the story, and is all the better for it. Lou, another friend (played by Josh Charles from Sports Night), is a crass slickster who seems to funnel most of his human feelings into affection for his pets; neither of these characters are really necessary, but the filmmakers are wise to keep them in anyway. Wolodarsky previously worked on some of the best episodes of The Simpsons, itself possibly the best TV series ever; he knows from good gags.

But People's colorless kvetching doesn't bother with, say, satiric one-liners. The main characters sound like tuneless Woody Allen imitations, with all of the whining and none of the wit (most of the couple's rejoinders are on the level of "This is stupid!"). Mohr, who usually specializes in characters a lot sharper (and more weaselly) than the genial Ed, is stranded playing a nice dope. The Nicholson character is given the thankless task of single-handedly instigating the ill-fated plot. This sets the film off-balance; her casual-sex idea does seem stupid from the outset, and the characters barely sell it to each other, let alone the audience. The result is a movie that dwells on the realistic effects of a fairly ridiculous idea -- one that is clearly better suited to farce.

You can see a funnier movie peeking through. When Ed's relationship with Sandy sours, for example, Seeing Other People briefly resembles a sex-comedy After Hours: A couple in over their heads struggles against a sexual experiment that refuses to end. But the movie is over before this possibility is fully realized. We're left with only the erratic, occasionally hilarious side comedy and a couple of odd musician cameos, including Jonathan Davis of Korn (as a drug dealer) and Liz Phair (as an aerobics instructor).


Comments

Seeing Other People Rating

" Weak "

Rating: NR, 2004

Editors Recommendations

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

The Cannes Film festival is sneaking up fast. The Oscars felt like they were 8 minutes ago...

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

Next weekend's CounterPoint Festival will be the event's first year at a new 5000-acre site, featuring...

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Superhero movies have been striving towards the almost unobtainable goal set...

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Ricky Gervais is "Hooked" on David Brent Again - Former Paper Merchant To Return

A return for David Brent has been mooted ever since the character was wheeled...

Ricky Gervais is

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing "Made In America" To Downtown Los Angeles

Jay Z and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti have announced that the rapper’s...

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing

Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

The editor-in-chief of US VOGUE magazine is reportedly determined for the annual...

Anna Wintour - Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

The comedy classic 'Mrs. Doubtfire' is reportedly set to return to the big-screen...

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Of Mice And Men premiered on Broadway last night, giving critics a chance to cast...

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'

Sofia Vergara has been speaking about her nerves at shooting a ménage a trois with...

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'


More recommendations