With a title like A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, you should pretty much know what you’re getting yourself into. You’d be expecting things like drinking, nudity, funny situations, and hopefully, an actual orgy sometime in the third act. And in this case, you’d be pretty much right on the money. Co-writers Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck step behind the camera to try their hand at co-directing in this new comedy that does a lot right.

Jason Sudeikis stars as Eric, a lovable guy in his 30s who lives to chew bubblegum and party…but he’s all out of bubblegum. Each weekend of the summer season, he and his Manhattan-dwelling friends break the bonds of their monotonous urban lives and escape to the breezy beauty of the Hamptons to throw epic soirees at his dad’s sweet beach house. These fancy fiestas are typically themed nights of debauchery designed to one-up the last drunken bash. Conflict occurs when Eric’s dad decides to put the beach house up for sale, basically forcing Sudeikis and the gang to throw one last huge blowout.

But instead of hiring ice sculptors to create glacial keggerators, creating a guest list longer than Long Island and generally doing everything in their power to one up Diddy’s Black and White party, Eric decides to keep things simple and low-key, with just his closest friends in attendance. Apparently, the best way to celebrate the end of an era is with, you guessed it, a good old fashioned orgy.

The cast is full of great actors with faces you’re sure to recognize. One of my favorites is Nick Kroll who’s simply fantastic as Ruxin on The League, one of the most hilarious shows on TV right now. He does a fine job as Adam, the somewhat stuffy and neurotic Blackberry addicted member of the gang. Tyler Labine, from festival favorite Tucker and Dale vs Evil, is particularly good as Eric’s portly best friend. It’s the type of role that would be easy to assign as a Zach Galifianakis imitation but Labine does his own thing and makes it feel a bit more honest. Leslie Bibb, who also appeared briefly on The League as well as high profile films like Iron Man, is also fun to watch as the cute realtor’s assistant who finds herself the object of Eric’s affections. Rhys Coiro is hilarious as a metrosexual with a crazy European accent. Horror icon Lin Shaye, SNL alum Will Forte and indie comedy great Martin Starr also share screen time, each pulling their comedic weight.

Sudeikis and Labine have good chemistry and a lot of the jokes work because of the way they can play off each other. In a way, this feels like a high school graduation movie for 30-somethings. The plot points are pretty much the same, with Labor Day weekend looming like the last day of school and everyone a little nervous and anxious to see what will come next.

The places where the film stumbles a bit are the moments where it tries to shoehorn in some emotional weight and/or character development. They simply slow the movie down and introduces sections where we’re not laughing. These aren’t nor should they be characters we really give a shit about, none of them needs to learn anything or grow by the end of the movie, and thankfully none of them really do. Things go much more smoothly when the plot exists simply to keep the story moving and the jokes coming. Thankfully those attempts at more dramatic moments are fairly few and far between.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is a legitimately funny comedy, which isn’t always a given these days. It does a pretty good job of focusing on the gags and not getting bogged down with too much extraneous plot. It’s fun if forgettable entertainment, perfect for Sunday afternoon viewing. It keeps things casual and breezy, provides plenty of laughs and then ends before it starts to wear out it’s welcome.

The Upside: Engaging and funny throughout, solid cast, well paced.

The Downside: Occasional attempts at emotional beats and character development detract from the comedy and add nothing, characters can occasionally seem a bit like poor little rich kids whining that daddy didn’t buy them a pony.

On the Side: Gregory and Huyck started writing the script in the late 90s while working on The Larry Sanders Show

Grade: B


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