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The Myth of the Male Orgasm

Reducing the battle between the sexes to a witty war of words, "The Myth of the Male Orgasm" is a rare Canadian export that's both timely and jocular enough to make it ripe for moderate cross-border shopping.

Reducing the battle between the sexes to a witty war of words, “The Myth of the Male Orgasm” is a rare Canadian export that’s both timely and jocular enough to make it ripe for moderate cross-border shopping.

Winsome but woebegone college prof Jimmy Ruvinsky (Bruce Dinsmore) is turning 30, and the need to figure out his failure with women drives him to participate in an on-campus study of male attitudes, run by psych-department feminists a tad predisposed against their subjects. Initial scenes of blindfolded Jimmy defending himself against relentless interrogation by a woman identified only as Jane Doe lay out a guide to the current sexual zeitgeist. It’s done as neatly as French-lingo “The Decline of the American Empire” did for the less-paranoid 1980 s.

The writing is definitely from the male perspective, which could prompt negative responses from female viewers, but it’s brutally, hilariously honest. The real problem is that the women aren’t as well cast or handled as the men, and their potentially intriguing characters pay the price. Ruth Marshall is too bland as Jimmy’s best pal (and secret love), while Miranda de Pencier comes on all saucy, TV-ad purrs as the supposedly neutral inquisitor; her scenes with Felicia Shulman, as the harsh department head, consist of little more than bleak yelling and cigarette waving. Macha Grenon, however, is perfect as Jimmy’s bitchy, supremely superficial ex-g.f.

Burke Lawrence is notable as Jimmy’s bumptiously womanizing roommate, and Mark Camacho gets many of the funniest lines as the other roomie: a sensitive, liberated health-freak on the outside but a horny, smoke-sneaking demon underneath. Legit veteran Dinsmore, an ingenuous Kyle McLachlan type, is terrific throughout, carrying his debut lead with impressive ease.

Tech credits are adequate, with so-so lensing offset by fresh Montreal settings. Rock tunes by Quebecer Ray Bonneville also add local verve. Still, it’s not urban exotica but universality that is offered here. In fact, erroneous sexist rap (along with ironic title) could stir enough controversy to attract multiplex crowds who’ll find that pic doles out no politically correct answers, but raises all the pertinent questions.

The Myth of the Male Orgasm

  • Production: A Telescene Communications production, in association with Doodskie Film Corp. (International sales: Telescene, Montreal.) Produced by Robin Spry. Executive producer, Paul Painter. Directed by John Hamilton. Written by Hamilton , David Reckziegel.
  • Crew: Camera (color), John Berrie; editor, Denis Papillon; music, Ray Bonneville, Michel Pelletier; production design, John Meighen; costume design, Paul-Andre; sound, Gabor Vadnay; associate producer, Reckziegel; line producer, David McInnes Robertson; assistant director, Jennifer Jonas; casting, Vear Miller, Nadia Rona. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal, Sept. 2, 1993. (Also in Toronto Festival of Festivals, Vancouver Festival.) Running time 90 MIN.
  • With: Jimmy Ruvinsky - Bruce Dinsmore<br> Jane Doe - Miranda de Pencier<br> Mimi - Ruth Marshall<br> Sean - Burke Lawrence<br> Tim - Mark Camacho<br> Paula - Macha Grenon<br> Gregory - Gianpaolo Bini<br> Allison - Felicia Shulman<br>
  • Music By: