Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask) Review

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A series of comic sketches about every aspect of sex including, famously, the attack of the giant boobs and the anxiety of the humble sperm.


One of Woody Allen’s ‘early, funny films’, this is a rare (mostly successful) film attempt at sketch comedy, with a run of self-contained, gag-driven segments answering the questions ‘Do Aphrodisiacs Work?’ (Allen as a medieval jester smitten with queen Lynn Redgrave but thwarted by a chastity belt), ‘What is Sodomy?’ (psychiatrist Gene Wilder falls in love with a sheep), ‘Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching Orgasm?’ (a smug, flat Antonioni parody), ‘Are Transvestites Homosexuals?’ (Lou Jacobi as a middle-aged schlub caught in women’s clothes), ‘What Are Sex Perverts?’ (a skit on 1950s game shows as a panel of celebrities on What’s My Perversion? try to guess the mystery kink of a guest contestant), ‘Are the Findings of Doctors and Clinics Who Do Sexual Research Accurate?’ (an extended joke about science fiction films, with John Carradine as a mad sex researcher who unleashes a giant breast that rampages across the countryside like The Blob) and What Happens During Ejaculation? (Burt Reynolds and Tony Randall are brain-workers and Allen is a sperm in a human body run by a NASA-style mission crew).

Some sketches simply don’t work (the drag skit is especially pointless), but Allen crams in many funny, crass lines (like the sci-fi hero who snaps ‘I know how to handle tits’) and there’s one genuinely classic performance from Wilder, who is magnificent, absurd and bizarrely touching as the uppercrust shrink smitten with a sheep. Dr Doug Ross, George Clooney’s character on ER, is named after Wilder’s wool-loving character here. Though Allen was still a better writer and performer than director at this stage of his career, he stretches to effective parodies of early television, mad scientist horror films and high-tech Michael Crichton science fiction.

It may not consistently stay the distance, but the sublimely funny moments make up for an awful lot of misfires.