"Amy's Orgasm" is a sophisticated romantic comedy much like "Kissing Jessica Stein."
Like Jessica, Julie Davis' Amy Mandell is beautiful, intelligent, Jewish--and unattached. Jessica's inability to find Mr. Right leads her to experiment with her own sex, but Amy's predicament is more challenging. While Jessica was a respected feature writer for a New York newspaper, Amy is a nationally renowned self-help author whose primary message is that women don't need men to feel fulfilled.
In terms of her career and personal accomplishment, that's certainly true. With her newest book, however, Amy has gone a step further to explain to her ardent followers why love doesn't work.
Promoting her book, Amy defies her publicist's advice and agrees to go on the radio show of a notorious local shock jock, Matthew Starr (Nick Chinlund). Both get more than they bargained for. Confrontational to the max, Matthew discovers in Amy someone who can confidently hold her own against him. Both are terrifically attracted to each other as well. But where do they go from here, for Matthew, single at 37, is as scared of marriage as Amy is of sex. Amy is seriously out of touch with herself, Matthew less so. Both are ripe for self-discovery, but there's a very real question as to whether they'll even be able to begin this journey together, let alone get anywhere.
In this age of acute self-consciousness, the issues of fear of hurt and inability to trust have been extensively explored. So it is to the credit of Davis, who wrote and directed "Amy's Orgasm," that her take is so consistently fresh and amusing.
Like "Kissing Jessica Stein," "Amy's Orgasm" has a key strength in its willingness to explore its principal characters with honesty, insight and humor.
This goes not only for Amy and Matt, but also for Amy's publicist, Janet (the always wonderful Caroline Aaron), and to a lesser extent the priest (Jeff Cesario) to whom Jessica regularly confesses (that she is Jewish doesn't faze her) and the married couple (Mitchell Whitfield and Jennifer Bransford) who persistently urge Amy to give love a chance.
Janet is especially well-drawn: a lesbian with a controlling nature yet genuinely concerned for what she considers Amy's best interests. Janet is acerbically forthright, and Aaron brings her alive with a wry, mature wisdom.
Davis, whose last film as a writer-director was "I Love You, Don't Touch Me," wears three hats in this picture with ease. A smooth, well-burnished production, "Amy's Orgasm" has a natural flow and pace that allow it to seem cinematic for all its considerable dialogue and intense focus on its people.
Unrated. Times guidelines: adult sexual candor.
Julie Davis...Amy Mandell
Nick Chinlund...Matthew Starr
Jeff Cesario...The Priest
A Magic Lam release. Writer-director-editor Julie Davis. Producers Davis, Fred Kramer. Executive producers Scott Mandell, David Strauss. Cinematographer Mark Mervis. Music supervisors David Powell, Jonathan Weiss. Costumes Robert Constant. Production designer Carol Strober. Art director Kristin Gilmartin. Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes.