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A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures Review

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After “13 relationships, 47 minor erotic encounters and16,425 unfulfilled sexual impulses”, Chris Waitt decides that it’s time to analyse what was wrong with his love life. And film it. So, camera in hand, he set out to interview every ex-girlfriend he ha

★★★★★

Much like its director, a Complete History Of My Sexual Failures is a shambles - but an endearing one. Chris Waitt is a dithering, self-absorbed muddle of a manchild who lives up to his surname by being about as punctual as the new Wembley Stadium. With unruly blond hair curling into his eyes and a bewildered, bovine expression that gives him the air of a half-starved cow that’s just swallowed a wasp, Waitt is a quiet catastrophe - someone you’d expect to have emerged from months of workshopping as a Mike Leigh character (played by Rhys Ifans). And that is precisely his appeal, at least as the subject of this 93-minute navel-gaze.

The high concept behind Waitt’s debut feature-doc is neat enough; inspired, no doubt, by Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity (not that Waitt admits it). Freshly dumped, he draws up a list of past lovers he can interview about his failings as a partner. Yet that’s not quite how it works out. Most of his exes tell him to feck off, and he forgets about others until his practical mother digs out old letters.

Realising his film isn’t working out, Waitt turns things confessional, shifting attention from his ex-girlfriends to his perma-flaccid penis. While this involves a few amusing - and wince-inducing - stunts (we see an S&M madam flicking his dangling scrotum with a whip), it’s far less interesting than what was initially promised. And isn’t it a little reductive and shallow to suggest the prime reason his relationships failed was his erectile dysfunction?

Thankfully, things get back on track, especially once Waitt interviews the love of his life (so far). The result is an emotional bombshell so forceful you even feel sorry for him. Well, almost…

Not a complete history at all, more a scatterbrained rummage through the sex life of an exhibitionist-masochist filmmaker. If nothing else, though, it’s an enjoyable-enough stunt-doc.