Young People Fucking
Directed by Martin Gero
Maple Pictures, 2008
By Madeleine Sims-Fewer
With its racy subject matter and a title few would be prepared to say out loud, Young People Fucking was bound to attract attention from all angles. Being a Canadian movie just adds to the allure. A quirky, biting comedy, Young People Fucking follows five typical pairings through their atypical sexual encounters one fateful night. The film revs into action immediately, lubricated with slick dialogue and snappy editing, pulling you into the fray in the first minute. We are introduced to The Friends, who are looking to escape their past failed relationships in a night of drunken sex — with each other.
Then there’s The Couple, who are easily sidetracked and seem like they may never get around to doing the deed; The Exes, who provide the softer, subtler notes of the film in their night of reminiscence; The First Date, between a player and a seemingly innocent co-worker; and The Roommates, who share an unlikely ménage-a-trois (sort of). The film guides the audience through the different stages of sex, including foreplay, the midpoint, and post-coital pillow talk. Never did I realize that sex involved so much talking. I don’t just mean the occasional instructions: these couples have fully fledged conversations during sex. It is not unrealistic however, and proves to be one of the film’s few triumphs. The steady stream of dialogue keeps the audience from noticing the potholes. Coupled with the agile editing, YPF rarely loses your attention.
The film suffers a little in the first half from a few poor performances, most notably from the Friends, who punctuate each line delivery with a flailing hand gesture, and the Exes, who act as if they are reading auto cues. But the acting is solid overall, with sensitive turns from Kristin Booth and Josh Dean (who resembles a young Steve Buscemi).
The biggest problem with the film is that it doesn’t quite live up to its title. The actual sex is dry, uninspired, and void of any of the poignancy that made films such as Shortbus and Sleeping Dogs Lie so groundbreaking. Every couple is heterosexual, and since when did “young people” translate to “incredibly gorgeous thin people”? Not one of the characters is ugly, pudgy, or has birth marks in weird places, and all of the women have sex with full make-up on. This detracts somewhat from the intended reality of the film, even though they are all very nice to look at.
The most laughs are garnered by the Roommates, who are definitely the strangest (cookie dough anyone?), though surprisingly also the most human of the lot. Some of their dialogue is truly hilarious, and there is one moment involving a hand and a derrière that is worth waiting for.
Though I enjoyed it at the time, and laughed at how silly people can be when it comes to bedroom antics, looking back Young People Fucking was a little hollow: all fuss and no finish.