Writer Aaron Abrams and co-writer/first-time director Martin Gero probably knew a title like Young People Fucking [YPF] would draw immediate attention to their indie film, but the title’s a fair choice, since the movie’s five couples – one married, a set of best friends, a trio of housemates, the office womanizer and the innocent babe, and two lovers on more than a casual date – basically talk about their respective sexual issues before engaging in a moment of experimentation, naught sex, and a threesome.
Even if the rough talk, partial nudity and five sex scenes were eliminated, YPF is basically a smart and witty, snappily constructed film that happens to focus on a lot of frank behaviour, and the nuances of emotional and physical intimacy. The filmmakers provide a fair balance of perspectives, but it’s slightly canted towards showing men trying to keep a macho image when the plumbing isn’t working, the girl is getting bored, or when a fantasy is much harder to coordinate than expected.
Maple’s DVD includes a funny commentary track with the filmmakers, and with a full spectrum of potty words, they touch upon almost all aspects of the film’s creation, stemming from a script that was spread-eagled over several expansive years before shared efforts and rewrites via email were refined into an agile screenplay.
The dialogue is fresh, but it springs to life mostly because of the exceptional cast of largely lesser-known faces who invest wonderful nuances and bits of business into their characters. Abrams and Gero don’t reveal every character’s background, though, which adds some mystique to a couple who may or may not share a prior past.
Sex comedies are prone to a handful of pitfalls filmmakers don’t always manage to avoid: there’s focusing too much on copulation and fetishes, thereby diminishing the believability of characters; using an overwhelming assault of graphic imagery and music-styled montages to pad the running time; sticking to male fantasies and completely ignoring the female audience; and being just plain dull because the film’s an indulgent exercise in voyeurism.
YPF’s been divided into six chapters (Prelude, Foreplay, Sex, Interlude, Orgasm, and Afterglow), and that format allows the filmmakers to cross-cut between the five stories; on one hand, it gives the film a brisk pacing, but it also ensures there’s no fat or padding in any of the story threads.
Co-writer Abrams also plays Matt, the best friend who boffs Kris (Carly Pope) with a generous dose of pre-foreplay booze. The couple’s best moments involve extremely awkward efforts to get into the mood, including Matt’s ‘nasty talk,’ and a mood-killing rock ballad that regularly spews from the CD carousel.
Even more infectious is meatball Gord (Ennis Esmer), who spanks his monkey while housemate/nerd Dave (Peter Oldring) and girlfriend Inez (Natalie Lisinska) act out Gord’s ultimate fantasy. Esmer is a ball of wired energy, and his background in improve comedy pays off with a wealth of small ticks, reactions, and a gravely, energetic dialogue delivery that recalls the animated behaviour in Luc Besson’s best comedies; like Besson’s twitchy films it’s the actors’ timing that’s key to the film’s tone, and YPF is filled with a really solid cast of mostly unknowns.
Kristin Booth (Traders, Foolproof) also shines as the better half of a young couple bored with vanilla sex, and Callum Blue is fun to watch as his character’s studly persona unravels under the influence of doe-eyed Diora Baird. The cast is a mix of pretty and average lookers, which also ensures the characters aren’t perfect people with chilly demeanors, and the filmmakers’ focus on vulnerabilities are just important as the whoopee scenes.
Maple’s transfer is very clean, and shows off the warm colour design in Arthur C. Cooper’s crisp cinematography. The sound mix (in English and French) is buoyant in either Dolby 2.0 or 5.1 streams. Some production featurettes would’ve rounded out the package, but the co-writers manage to cover most ephemera in their funny (and very blue) commentary track.
© 2008 Mark R. Hasan