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Never have the 1980s felt so painfully time-warped. This 1988 movie, which was directed by Geneviève Roberts and adapted by Wendy Goldman and Judy Toll from their stage play, is proof as to why we've rarely heard their names again. Casual Sex? is an oxymoron of a title that chronicles the plight of two best-friends-since-childhood who are suffering from celibacy in the AIDS-addled '80s. One, Stacy (Lea Thompson), misses the easy promiscuity of the past though she longs for a guy who is a true friend. Melissa (Victoria Jackson from Saturday Night Live) has only had sex with two men--the second of whom was her fiancé, and she longs for her first orgasm. When they decide to take a holiday to the Oasis Spa in order to find some nice guys, they have little notion that they're about to find the wrong Mr. Right(s). Combine the tired premise with some asides to the screen (that probably worked better on stage) and a couple of role-playing fantasies, and Casual Sex? is proof that a movie on this topic might be written by women, but it still might not have anything new or groundbreaking to reveal. Casual Sex? ultimately pairs one of its protagonists with comic Andrew Dice Clay, who plays a Jersey thug named "The Vin Man," and it's embarrassing to watch him mug his way through the film. With such lines as "You and I have more in common now that we're both afraid of sex" and "Not being attracted to anybody scares me more than AIDS," viewers will wonder if these two have a brain in their heads at all. They ultimately come across as less than enlightened about sex and love and seem--along with the movie itself--more than a little desperate. --Paula Nechak
Cold Comfort Farm
This hilarious spoof on British costume dramas based on great literature stars Kate Beckinsale (Much Ado About Nothing) as a strong-willed, young woman named Miss Flora Poste, who finds herself orphaned and without means in the 1930s. Moving in with some half-savage relatives on a country farm, Flora is hardly daunted by their primitivism (as she might have been in a novel by Thomas Hardy) but instead takes charge and imposes hygiene, order, and good manners on the dirty, superstitious lot. John Schlesinger directs this brisk, infectious adaptation of the 1932 novel by Stella Gibbons. Beckinsale is wonderful, and the rest of the savvy, inspired cast perfectly send up a host of literary clichés. --Tom Keogh
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