The Holy Quaternity

A modestly appealing, barely convincing spouse-swap comedy that reps one of Czech helmer Jan Hrebejk's slighter recent efforts.

Two married couples spice up their sex lives by forming a frisky foursome in “The Holy Quaternity,” a modestly appealing, barely convincing spouse-swap comedy that reps one of Czech helmer Jan Hrebejk’s slighter recent efforts. Game, flesh-baring performances from a likable cast keep this naughty-but-nice effort from overstaying its welcome at 79 minutes, even when its refreshingly nonjudgmental approach at times veers into bizarre wishful-thinking territory. Pic won’t stray too far beyond local boudoirs, but its gently bawdy appeal should seduce some viewers offshore.

Middle-aged marrieds Vitek (Jiri Langmajer) and Marie (Marie Prochazkova) live across from their close friends Ondra (Hynek Cermak) and Dita (Viktorie Cermakova). Ondra and Dita’s two adolescent sons are showing signs of interest in Vitek and Marie’s two daughters, an already odd premise that gets even weirder when the four parents decide to form a menage-a-quatre while on vacation together. Sun-dappled beaches and actors willing to expose their imperfect bodies onscreen make for pleasurable enough viewing, but even allowing for presumably ultra-permissive sexual mores, the overall vibe of casual, consequence-free tolerance feels both anti-dramatic and more than a little preposterous.

The Holy Quaternity

Czech Republic

  • Production: A Bontonfilm release of an In Film Praha production. (International sales: Monte Cristo Intl. Entertainment, New York/Los Angeles/Rome.) Produced by Rudolf Biermann. Directed by Jan Hrebejk. Screenplay, Michal Viewegh.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Martin Sacha; editor, Vladimir Barak; music, Eggnoise; set designer, Milan Bycek; costume designer, Katarina Strbova Bielikova; sound, Pavel Rejholec, Tomas Zubek. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 9, 2012. Running time: 79 MIN.
  • With: With: Jiri Langmajer, Hynek Cermak, Marika Prochazkova, Viktorie Cermakova, Ludek Munzar, Jana Gyrova, Valerie Samalova, Jenovefa Bokova, Vaclav Marhold, Gregor Bauer, Marek Slavik.