Frank and Neil have known each other since childhood, and the seemingly one constant in their life is discussions and questions about sexuality. As their early twenties rolls along, the two have gone in different directions. Frank (Frankie Frain) lives with his long-term girlfriend Jess (Nina Szulewski), the only woman he’s ever been with, as they met when they were teenagers, started dating and haven’t looked back since. Neil (Keith Sadeck) works in an IT department, still a virgin and constantly mocked by Frank and their two gay friends, Dan (Jon Ryan) and Matt (Ben Fisher).
While Neil languishes in a downward spiral towards “creepy virgin” territory, Frank focuses on filming his latest internet video, an exploration of sexuality that ends with a toe being inserted into an a*****e. Dan and Matt are constantly on-and-off in their relationship, and Jess is getting pressured to finally get married (something she and Frank have really only contemplated for the various potential benefits, such as shared health insurance and the like). The constant in all their lives, much like Frank and Neil’s childhood conversations, is sex or conversation about sex.
And not to say that things don’t happen in the film, but I also can’t say that there are any life-changing, “eureka!” moments in Sexually Frank. Still, damn if it isn’t an entertaining flick to watch. The dialogue is strong and delivered with just the right rhythm (think Kevin Smith’s character-dialogue flow at its best), while also being consistently hilarious.
There are jokes, and they’re released in much the same way they are in real life: without a pause for the laugh track. Maybe I appreciate it because it’s my own style of humor (joke grenades; the more you can drop in a given sentence, the better chance one of them will work), but I do find that people say funny s**t all the time without expecting some sort of immediate reaction. Films very often act in the opposite way, expecting each comment to deserve an immediate retort or reaction. Conversations just happen, man! Sexually Frank gets that.
Not only does the film look good, sound good and is visually composed well, everyone involved with the film knocks it out of the park. Honestly, there isn’t one actor in this film that doesn’t do a spectacular job in their role, or convince you not only to pay attention, but to care about what’s going on. There’s even a narrative thread regarding sex offenders that, based on performance alone, made me question the black-and-white nature of my own thoughts. Is that a good thing? I don’t know, but the film managed to deliver something more than just surface.
Writer/director Frankie Frain doesn’t stretch too much by playing a filmmaker named Frank, but he also doesn’t allow his character to fall into stereotype or create drama out of nothing. There are so many opportunities in this film for there to be static and melodrama between Frank and Jess that lesser films would fall all over, but Sexually Frank manages to dodge each expectation over and over again. The big dramatic blow-up never comes, and the love between Frank and Jess is that much more apparent due to the lack of such drama. When a couple truly does love and trust each other, it looks more like what this film shows than what you see in most romantic dramadies.
Sexually Frank plays the 2012 CineKink Film Festival in New York City on February 10, 2012.
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