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MOVIE REVIEW

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

Been there, done that in ‘A Good Old Fashioned Orgy’

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By Loren King
Globe Correspondent / September 2, 2011

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There’s a pretty decent comedy somewhere in “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy,’’ if only it wasn’t so attracted to everyone else in the room.

Any originality in this new movie is overwhelmed by its lazy eagerness to embrace the new standard for R-rated comedy. The film wants so badly to be “The Hangover’’ that its chubby star, poor Tyler Labine, might as well be carting around a Wayfarers-wearing baby. Despite occasional wit, it mostly delivers gay jokes and oral sex references ad nauseam.

Labine, whose Zach Galifianakis imitation is called Mike, is the obnoxious best friend to Jason Sudeikis’s suave party guy Eric, the Bradley Cooper of the group. The film opens with these two dashing from New York on a Friday afternoon to catch the early train to the Hamptons with their beer coolers in tow. They meet up with their group of longtime friends for yet another elaborate theme party thrown at the beach house belonging to Eric’s dad (Don Johnson).

This “Hangover’’ is at least coed, with a few women included in the gang that is now in their 30s but so stuck in adolescence that they still talk about getting it on (or not) at the high school prom. The early summer party they convene for this time is called the White Trash Bash; it comes complete with costumes, cannonballs into the pool, and bean dip served up in a toilet bowl. The next morning, Eric’s dad announces he’s putting the animal house up for sale.

Devastated, Eric decides the way to go out in style is to throw a friends-only orgy, much to the delight of Mike. The other friends - uptight Adam (Nick Kroll), who’s attached to his BlackBerry; therapist Alison (Lake Bell), who’s just ditched her snooty boyfriend; and Sue (Michelle Borth), who’s been pining for Eric since she was a teenager - soon agree that they, too, will get sloshed, sleep together, and say goodbye to all that.

But while he’s planning the Karma Sutra-themed orgy, Eric falls for the real estate agent (Leslie Bibb) who’s showing the house. He may have found the only realtor in the country who would agree to discourage a sale so that her love interest could party through Labor Day. There are some bright spots in the generic raunch, such as Eric and Mike trying to get tips at a clandestine swingers’ party in the back of a bedding store. The likable Lucy Punch and Will Forte manage to stand out as newlyweds offended that they were left off the orgy invitation, but their characters and comedic skills are underutilized.

Eric sells his friends on the orgy by making a case that theirs is the generation that missed out on subversive sex because of AIDS, but nothing particularly anarchic happens once the event gets underway. The 2009 indie film “Humpday’’ offered a more insightful take on male bravado and insecurity, particularly around male/male sex. There’s nothing transgressive here; these characters are just looking for a good time, fueled by lots of alcohol - Eric kicks off the orgy with a toast of absinthe “flown in from Amsterdam’’- and, of course, love.

The morning after the debauched night brings more discomfort until Eric suggests the friends bond with “a super gay group hug.’’ “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy’’ teases with occasional promise but ends up following the R-rated raunchy comedy formula, too worried that the cool kids won’t like it if it doesn’t.

Loren King may be contacted at loren.king@comcast.net.

A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY

Written and directed by: Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Tyler Labine, Lake Bell, Leslie Bibb, Lucy Punch

At: Boston Common, suburbs

Running time: 95 minutes

Rated: R (sexuality, excessive drinking, language, general debauchery)

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