“The Big O” applies the codes of reality television to women’s sexuality — to distinctly mixed results. Tyro docu-maker Michaline Babich earned the trust of three women, known here only by their first names, as they embark on a weeklong workshop in Austin, Texas, to find out why each has a difficult time reaching orgasm. Pic is an odd blend of daring subject with bland filmmaking that seems intended for open-minded PBS outlets, as well as indie and appropriate fests.
Summer, 25, thinks her problems stem from an inability to give in an intimate setting; Wendy, 30, finds reaching orgasm a painful, physical strain; Laurie, 35, claims never to have had an orgasm, and links her struggles with many years of drug-addled bouts of anonymous sex. What’s amusing here is how the women begin the week with serious-looking, white-jacketed female doctors, and end up spending time with extremely New Age-y “transformational therapists,” masturbation specialists and, in Wendy’s case, a local stripper. The real value in this account is that much of the observed sexual dysfunction is medical and physical — not in the head.