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'Better Than Sex'

There's lots of it in 'Better Than Sex'

Friday, November 23, 2001

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Cin (Susie Porter), a freckled blonde with a boyish Mia Farrow haircut, isn't exactly a babe in the woods. Or bed.

'Better Than Sex'

Rating: Unrated but adult in nature for sex, nudity.

Starring: David Wenham, Susie Porter

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky

WEB SITE: www.betterthansex



She's slept with 28 men, while male-model-handsome wildlife photographer Josh (David Wenham) has known maybe 50 women. Cin and Josh meet at a party, flirt and, largely because Josh is leaving Australia for his London home in three days, fall into bed for what they assume is a one-night stand. Two nights, tops, because they're so simpatico. So to speak.

But a funny thing happens to this casual couple. They find intimacy and maybe love, which freaks them out.

That is the premise of "Better Than Sex," a movie opening at the Denis that at times seems like "All Sex, All the Time." Some of you, no doubt, will have no problem with that. Others, no doubt, will. Cin and Josh eventually talk a bit, and he tries on the wedding dress Cin is making for a friend. "All I want to do is be a princess for a day," he quips, which makes you wish he would quip a little more.

First-time writer and director Jonathan Teplitzky crafted this romantic comedy, which is about the evolutionary arc of lust to love, but it spends most of its time on the early part of that equation. The couple reveal a few truths about themselves, but not as many as Teplitzky obviously thinks.

Spliced into their couplings are comments from a batch of 20- or 30-something singles (identified as Girl or Guy A, B, C, etc.) about subjects such as marriage, why men can't hit the inside of the toilet bowl when they urinate, why it takes women so long to get ready and matters less discreet. Serving as a sort of angel who recognizes the potential of the relationship before Cin and Josh do is a taxi driver (Kris McQuade) who appears as if by magic and dispenses advice.

Although he undresses -- and undresses -- his leads, Teplitzky dresses up the proceedings with music and having Cin and Josh talk directly to the camera the way the characters do on TV's "Once & Again." At times, it seems like soft porn.

Skin deep. Lots of exposed skin deep.

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