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By Bob Westal | January 8, 2002

Most feminists believe that strip shows, massage parlors and the like demean women. “Sex positive” feminists, however, disagree. They hold that female “sex workers” often wield considerable power over the men who pay them.
Regardless, it seems clear to me that in all sorts of situations – sexual and otherwise – just who is being exploited and who’s doing the exploiting can be difficult to figure. That’s pretty much the point of Sirena Irwin’s “Whacked,” an amusing, imaginatively crafted little slice o’ sleaze.
“Whacked” opens in what may be a brothel bedroom. Jim (Ian Gregory) looks every bit the oily, middle-aged sleazoid businessman, while the sexy young Ruth (writer/director Irwin), waits for her instructions. Ruth insistently offers herself as the recipient of a little light S&M-style spanking, but Jim seems to want only to talk about emotions. Before the tête-à-tête is over, there’ll be more than a role reversal or two. And, oh, yes, buttocks will be struck repeatedly.
Though there may not appear to be all that much going on here other than “whacking,” there’s nothing masturbatory about Sirena Irwin’s film. Ms. Irwin has told this story in a lively, imaginative way that’s part David Lynch, part soap opera and part “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Details, such as the mostly orange and white boudoir, an opening which hilariously demonstrates many different types of whacking and a nifty soundtrack keep “Whacked” happily watchable throughout.

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