Sex and Death 101

Sex and Death 101


Reviewed by: Darren Amner

Romantic comedies – you either love them or hate them. More people fall into the 'hate' category as this sort of film is usually formulaic, devoid of charm and boring, with most men only going along to watch them at the order of their partners. Well, gents, protest no more because in 2008, when Sex And Death 101 is released, you will be chopping at the bit to see it with or without being coerced by your loved ones.

Sex And Death 101 is the brainchild of Heathers writer Daniel Waters – the king of black comedy. This romantic comedy, which he also directs, is, dare I say it, equal to, if not better than his original calling card.

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Roderick Blank’s (Simon Baker) perfect life is turned upside down when he receives an email out of the blue that contains a list of names of women he has had sex with in the past AND will have sex with in the future. The timing of the email is impeccable, as he is due to be married in the not too distant future and, to make matters worse, the list doesn’t end with his bride-to-be’s name – in fact there are 72 more sexual conquests to follow!

Waters script is painfully funny, sharp and biting, sublimely aided by wonderfully interesting characters. This added to a collection of near-perfect performances from its cast make Sex And Death 101 essential viewing. As Roderick, Baker delivers a star-making turn – its easy to see how women would sleep with this handsome, charming man who is a little cocky (in more ways than one) but also moving in the films lighter scenes.

As Blank goes from one woman to the next, he finds he is not the only one on a journey of sorts. A scorned woman, known as ‘Death Nell’, is cruising round Los Angeles punishing men for sex crimes against women, leaving her victims in a coma. It’s inevitable Blank will cross paths with this femme fatale.

Sex And Death 101 reminded me slightly of Alfie – though this is a superior work. Waters re-teaming with Winona Ryder as Nell was very welcome and confirms how great the pairing are. This is the best thing Ryder has done for ages.

Leslie Bibb also deserves a special mention as Miranda – a woman not on the list but whom Blank falls in love with. She's sexy, smart and the one girl not entirely smitten by Blanks advances. The film is a little over-long - I guess as both writer and director Waters thought 'its my script I’ll keep as much as I want in it if I get creative control'. Some fine-tuning would make the pace a little snappier.

The story reeks of bad Hollywood rom-com, but turns out to be a nail in the coffin of its poor predecessors. Sex And Death 101 is a must-see and will be the yardstick for all forthcoming romantic comedies to be measured against. I can’t recommend it enough – there is a lesson to be learned here kids sit down and take notes.

Reviewed on: 02 Dec 2007
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A man's life is turned upside down after receives an email listing all his sexual conquests... including those he hasn't had yet.

Director: Daniel Waters

Writer: Daniel Waters

Starring: Simon Baker, Winona Ryder, Leslie Bibb, Tanc Sade, Patton Oswalt, Mindy Cohn, Dash Mihok, Neil Flynn, Thom Bishops, Corinne Reilly, Sophie Monk

Year: 2007

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: USA, IMDb USA section


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