SCENES OF A SEXUAL NATURE (Ed Blum). 91 minutes. Opens Friday (May 25). Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
First and foremost, there is no sex -- none -- in Scenes Of A Sexual Nature . There's some ogling, a bit of kissage and a glimpse of the male bum, but no actual weasel-squeezing or anything approaching it. In its place there's talk about sex and love -- more love than sex -- and none of it explicit.
So you're not here out of prurient interest; you're here for comedy, and dialogue comedy at that. Ten people, most paired off and those who aren't want to be, spend the afternoon in London's Hampstead Heath. They talk about why they're divorcing, whether to have kids, whether he's ogling the young beauty reading L'Etranger.
There's no through line, no overarching story to tie the disparate bits together and keep you engaged with traditional "What happens next?" questions.
But it works better than you'd think, thanks to Aschlin Ditta 's brisk dialogue, delivered by an outstanding cast. Ewan McGregor and Douglas Hodge are witty and loving as the gay couple contemplating adoption. Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and Tom Hardy have the angular charm of early Hepburn and Grant in their pickup scene. Best are Eileen Atkins and Benjamin Whitrow as an aged widow and widower who start as strangers and become much more.
The Henry Mancini-meets-John Barry score keeps hinting that we're in some kind of 60s sex farce -- What's New Pussycat or The Knack. But the film lacks their manic energy and laugh-out-loud humour, making it at best a mild, pleasant and talky outing. Andrew Dowler