Sexually Frank (2011) – By Cary Conley

Sexually Frank is a double entendre. It is the title of a new film by Frankie Frain about–what else?–sex; but it’s also the name of the film’s main character, who spends the entire film talking about sex. It’s also one of the coarsest, most vulgar and funniest films about sex I’ve seen since Kevin Smith’s Clerks was released back in 1994. That’s not to say it’s a copy or retread of Smith’s film, but due to the sexual nature of the dialogue as well as how funny the film is, drawing this comparison is inevitable.

The film is an ensemble piece about a group of friends and examines their lives through various sexual themes. For instance, there is a gay couple, neither of which depicts the homosexual stereotype, whose relationship is on the rocks. There’s also a 29-year-old virgin who is uncomfortable around women and is a little on the creepy side. He spends a great deal of time looking at Internet porn and masturbating, but doesn’t have enough gumption to approach a woman. And of course, there is Frank and his girlfriend, monogamous since they began dating in junior high school. They are now in their early twenties and it’s been over a decade since they began dating. While marriage isn’t in the cards right now, they are perfectly content in their monogamy…something that others see as a potential pitfall in their relationship. Frank is an aspiring filmmaker and is putting together some comedy sketches he then places on YouTube. Sexually Frank centers around the making of the next film, directed by Frank and with the aid of his girlfriend as well as the rest of his buddies, called Ass to Toe…and I’ll leave it at that.

Sexually Frank is very talky, which many times can be a curse for some films. But fortunately for this film, the dialogue is both interesting and entertaining, and the set pieces are often hilarious. For example, once Frank’s gay friends break up, they start dating other guys. Both of the new characters are played so outlandishly gay it borders on parody. One has rosacea and this becomes the butt of several jokes, while the other walks around wearing bunny ears and a pink tee shirt in honor of Gay Pride. Neil is the virgin of the group and is obviously inept with women. This leads to several very funny sequences including one scene where his friends examine his Facebook page. Neil’s Facebook account includes his high school poetry and a blank field for his "orientation". Even the gay guys make fun of him for being…well, "gay". Neil spends his time in a cubicle being harassed by a disgusting young woman who has a thing for him as well as a thing for describing her numerous bowel movements each day. This young lady likes Neil but thinks his cubicle partner is creepy; Neil finds the young lady creepy; and in an interesting twist, Neil ends up being accused of being creepy himself. When Neil isn’t working, he’s masturbating, which also leads to some very funny sequences as his fantasies are visualized for the viewer. He has a thing for redheads. He also has a habit of conversing with his fantasies, becoming uncomfortable when one of them ends up closely resembling a family member.

But the film isn’t just a sex comedy. It also subtly and deftly examines many sexual ideas and how they are perceived by different people. The film is also autobiographical as well as biographical, as a large number of the sequences were culled from director Frankie Frain’s actual life experiences as well as those of his real friends, all of whom either appear in the film or worked behind the scenes. But though the vast majority of these filmmakers would be classified as amateurs, the film is very polished and quite well-made. The production values are quite high considering the budget limitations and the film looks much more expensive than its actual cost. Likewise, the acting is done mostly by amateurs, but comes across as quite authentic and very real. Perhaps this is because many of the main characters are actually playing themselves, but also because Frain’s writing is very strong. He delivers a script that is solid throughout and very entertaining.

Frain’s solid writing doesn’t surprise me as he also runs a blog about his movie making experiences which is very much like Sexually Frank–honest, a bit rebellious, and very funny. Frain’s entry on how the movie came to be (http://www.sexuallyfrank.com/2011/10/15/tldr-why-sexually-frank-exists) is fascinating and a plain old good read. It also gives the viewer some perspective on why Frain decided to make the movie in the first place. Part comedy, part drama, 100% honest, Sexually Frank is an unusual film: a talky ensemble piece that succeeds magnificently. If you are interested in seeing this film–and I would recommend it highly–please go to http://www.sexuallyfrank.com/buymovie for ordering information.