SEX AND DEATH 101
Length: 100 minutes
Director: Daniel Waters
Writer: Daniel Waters (Heathers; Batman Returns)
Starring: Winona Ryder, Simon Baker, Patton Oswalt, Leslie Bibb, Corinne Reilly, Julie Bowen, Frances Fisher, Cindy Pickett
Boy, it’s hard to name a more disappointing talent than writer Daniel Waters. His 1989 debut, “Heathers” is a comedic masterpiece that is arguably the quintessential high school movie. It’s mixture of severely black comedy and wry life observations has been imitated to death, but never done quite as properly (see “Jawbreaker” for example). So what did Waters do with this success? He wrote scripts like “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane” and “Hudson Hawk”. So it is only fitting that his foray into directing has been equally disastrous. His second film, “Sex and Death 101”, was one of the most irritating films I’ve ever sat through. A confused genre hopper. One moment it wants to be a pitch black comedy about the politics of sex, the next it wants to be a Farrelly brothers type gross out comedy, the next it wants to be a sweet romantic comedy, it even wants to be “The Matrix” at certain points. What the hell kind of script is this? And more importantly, who let this man make this awful movie? Sadly, I will be up front and honest with you and tell you that the main reason I watched this (I went in knowing it would be bad) was because I heard Winona Ryder was finally going to do a nude scene (I know, I know- but, please give me some credit, this is my childhood crush here). Her “nude scene” is a ploy, so don’t be fooled fellow Winona fanatics. You see what one “Family Guy” episode described as the “side boob” (sorry to be so crude, but it was the best comparison I could give you). So what is “Sex and Death 101” about really? I feel embarrassed just explaining the plot to you. Ladies man Roderick Blank (Simon Baker) is one day sent a list of every woman he will sleep with before he dies. He was sent the list in error and the supreme beings that did so (including Patton Oswalt- anything for a paycheck, huh Patton?) pull him aside and warn him that having such knowledge will ruin his life. Roderick, of course, does not listen and finds himself obsessed with finding these women and seducing them. He passes up chances of true love and some other forced sequences (he is seduced by a school bus full of catholic school girls at one point) until he reaches the 101st and last name on the list- which turns out to be Gillian (Ryder) - a serial killer of male chauvinist pigs. Uh oh! Maybe they’ll fall in love anyway! The most excruciating part there is that it takes literally 90% of the movie before these two characters even meet. Ryder’s character is an afterthought through most of the movie as Roderick glimpses pictures of her victims in newspapers and on the evening news. Instead of Ryder, we get a bunch of stereotypes that are supposed to provide comic relief, but instead make the film even worse. One of Roderick’s biggest loves (Leslie Bibb) accidentally dies (she won’t sleep with him which starts to drive him mad) and he considers raping her dead body. Hearty har. Drivel like this calls for Daniel Waters to have his name removed from the “Heathers” credits all together. He doesn’t deserve to have the association anymore.
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