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The title suggests some God-awful, trying-too-hard sex farce, but Relax... It's Just Sex! is a surprisingly layered comedy that takes some serious and compelling emotional turns. Jennifer Tilly ( Bound, Bullets over Broadway) plays Tara, a straight woman who's something of a den mother to a circle of friends, most of whom are gay or lesbian. While she tries to get pregnant with her new boyfriend, her friend Vincey (Mitchell Anderson) finally meets a guy he likes, an artist named Buzz (T.C. Carson), only to bring him to a dinner party where Buzz hooks up with Javi (Eddie Garcia), who has recently discovered that he's HIV positive. Meanwhile, Sarina (Cynda Williams from One False Move) has just learned that her lover, Megan, has slept with a man and runs into the arms of Robin (Lori Petty, Tank Girl, A League of Their Own). The movie takes story lines that could have been soap-opera clichés and rescues them with clever but realistic dialogue and strong, surprising performances. Over the course of the film the characters grow increasingly genuine, giving some of the twists in their lives an unexpected emotional impact. Relax... It's Just Sex! didn't get much of a release in theaters, perhaps because it's a sympathetic, realistic portrayal of gay men and lesbians, including some graphic sex. The transfer from film to video has marred the cinematography, giving the film a somewhat fuzzy image, but don't let that put you off from this refreshing, funny, and moving film. --Bret Fetzer
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