Friday, 14 February 2014

Sex After Kids Review

A problem arises early on in Sex After Kids because of its instant quality of shooting. Digital may be the future but cinematographers often speak about how they have to use filters to dim down the quality of the shots otherwise they look too colourful, too crude, almost cartoonish. That problem is apparent here. The camera's cleanliness and all too polished look makes it seem amateur, with no colour palette used for a consistency throughout the shoot. There seems to be no colouring, no grading, instead the lights are on full and every detail is on show in a sadly distracting fashion.

Sex After Kids follows the Love Actuallys, Valentine's Days and New Year's Eves trends of late but in a much more crude, honest fashion. Focusing on the title itself as its main plot point we follow several very different couples connected through different ways explore the problems of their love life after having children. Its range is broad and nice, focusing on a single dad, an elderly couple newly alone once more for a sexual reawakening and a lesbian couple facing the trouble of their relationship and no pre-assigned societal roles. All is new and different but as is the case with the three montage-esque films mentioned above, there are too many characters to ever connect with any of them. Though they may be different in some ways, they all seem to follow a similar type that we've often seen instead of reinvigorating the sex romcom subgenre.

More problems come from the performances of actors in the piece which can sometimes draw attention to themselves like the artifice of the cinematography. One of the more genuine performances comes from Katie Boland whose character is, sadly, underused; her performance of a comfortable 22 year-old is refreshing and contains the chemistry the rest of the film craves whenever she's on screen. There is chemistry between most of the couples but some scenes suffer from poor attempts at crude humour - which is, in fairness, few and far between - or from one-liners that make it seem like a cancelled sitcom; almost asking for the canned laughter in the background.

Sex After Kids isn't a failure by any means but it does have a lot more to give in more capable hands. It's slightly well crafted but it feels a little loose, the pacing odd and the beats seem to come at unusual times. It means that the story's structure feels unhinged; it needs a tightness when following so many different stories or it feels jarring. Bad writing hasn't caused this but it's just got the looseness of a newcomer who is clearly trying to refine his craft. It could come from the writing or directing but there's talent there to be refined, it is rather rough at the moment but polishing takes time. Some of the lines are fantastic and the ways that some characters develop is genuinely interesting, it shows an originality is there to be used. It's a shame that it paves its way to more common traits that the audience switches off to.

There's plenty to like in this, there's plenty to be refined here but what it needed was either more time writing it or another's eyes to explain why and what doesn't work and how to better it. The writer-director Jeremy Lalonde has potential with this being a more adult and original take on the montage romances but it still suffers from the jarring, stilting pacing that they do too but in a much more obvious way. The others are more polished and done by people who have refined their craft, which is what Jeremy Lalonde needs to do. More ideas to come from Jeremy are ones to be excited about as he's a filmmaker with talent that will eventually start to understand cinematic grammar and pacing. Sex After Kids has plenty of funny moments, plenty of good intentions and isn't afraid to shy away from issues that other films are but it still feels like a more amateur than professional construction which is disappointing. An opportunity for a comedy of Judd Apatow satisfaction is left begging. 


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