Thursday, September 20, 2012

Movie – The OH in Ohio (2006)

The OH in Ohio is yet another in the line of somewhat offbeat independent films that seem to attract actress Parker Posey like a moth to a flame.  Notice that I did not call this movie a comedy.  While it was certainly marketed as a comedy, it probably has as much drama in it as it does laughs.  The poor marketing, combined with the offbeat humor that is in this film, seems to be the biggest cause of dissatisfaction among viewers.  They were expecting something like Wedding Crashers and instead got something like, well, I’m not sure what other movie this would be most like.

Posey plays Priscilla Chase.  She’s in charge of attracting new businesses to Cleveland, Ohio.  She’s good at her job, and she’s been married for more than ten years to Jack Chase (Paul Rudd), but their marriage has one big problem in it.  She seems to be incapable of having an orgasm.  We can assume that part of the problem is that she may be the single most uptight person ever put on the silver screen.  How bad is she?  She tenses up during yoga classes.  She literally has kept track of how many times she and Jack have had sex (1,482), but claims she is satisfied by their sex life even though she never climaxes.  Jack doesn't believe her, though, so he has been depressed for quite a while about what he sees as his failing as both a husband and a lover.

She may be satisfied, but she also doesn’t realize how much she is missing.  A female friend of hers describes some great sex then asks Priscilla to share her experiences.  Priscilla’s attempts to describe her pleasure remind us of Steve Carell’s character in The 40 Year Old Virgin trying to describe what a woman’s breast feels like.  It’s obvious to everyone that Priscilla has never felt sexual pleasure.

Her friend convinces her to attend a class with a sexual therapist.  This therapist (a cameo by Liza Minelli) talks frankly to the women there, then has them engage in some up close and personal examinations of their own bodies – something Priscilla has been far too uptight to ever do.  She does finally decide to buy a vibrator in order to try it to see if it will help.  Boy does it.

She starts spending so much quality time with her new “marital aid” that her husband Jack starts to feel both left out and completely inadequate.  He finally can’t take any more and moves out (to an apartment complex named “The Manly Arms”).  He is a high school teacher.  He has had a senior in one of his classes (Mischa Barton) aggressively flirting with him all year.  He’s been flattered, but uninterested.  Now that he’s feeling about as low as a man can, he starts to find that her flirting and attention are giving him some self confidence again.  Once she points out that the age of consent in Ohio is sixteen, he gives in to her charms.  He doesn’t have any issues giving her pleasure, which is a huge step on the road back for him.

Meanwhile, Priscilla has started to realize she needs help; she’s becoming addicted to her vibrator.  The woman at the sex shop (a cameo by Heather Graham) that sold it to her tells her that she needs to go cold turkey.  She’s seen too many women in Priscilla’s situation that have gone too far off the deep end to ever return.  The woman even makes a pass at Priscilla as a way to “help” her transition off the vibrator, but Priscilla turns her down.  A couple weeks without the vibrator, though, and that woman’s offer isn’t sounding quite as crazy.

Speaking of crazy, Priscilla is going nuts trying to get her life back in order, maybe trying to get back with Jack, and still trying to do her job – all without falling off the wagon.  She does “cheat” when she finds out that her cell phone’s vibrate mode has possibilities.  She tucks the phone into a private place to try it, but then has to attend an impromptu meeting with some clients.  As luck would have it, someone chooses that time to continually try to call and text her, and let’s just say she makes a spectacle of herself in the meeting.

Realizing she needs a real change, she starts to hang out with an older, local businessman (Danny Devito).  As you can probably guess, he becomes the first man that she’s ever had sex with who can give her an orgasm.  Is this because she finally learned how to relax because of her vibrator, or is it because of how good this new guy is?

As I mentioned at the top, it’s not all laughs.  Priscilla and Jack are both happy together, but the sexual problems are too much. Even while separated and possibly pursuing other people, they both still hope they can work it out, but aren’t sure how.  In addition, Jack’s new relationship isn’t exactly one that is likely to be stable, nor is Priscilla’s with an older, unattractive man one that she has ever envisioned herself being in.

This isn’t a movie for everyone.  I think if you go into it with the right expectations – equal parts offbeat humor and drama – then you will have a better chance of liking it.  Oh (pun intended), and if you’re expecting to see lots of skin or sex, then you’ll also be disappointed.  This movie has far less of either than the last movie I reviewed – Wedding Crashers.  For anyone who thinks that The OH in Ohio sounds interesting, then I recommend you give it a try.

Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


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