In our modern-day world of direct-to-video monstrosities and quickie video releases issued shortly after what the industry likes to refer to as a “limited theatrical engagement” (which seems to just be a fancy way of taking the “direct” out of “direct-to-video” more than anything), it’s easy to pass up a title that you never really heard anything about other than via an amateurishly-produced preview. Likewise, it is a straightforwardly effortless procedure for one to leave something with a seemingly exploitive title sitting on the shelf. However, if you were to bypass A Good Old Fashioned Orgy due to having heard very little (or nothing) about it or because of its title, you would be making a mistake.
First off, let’s make it abundantly clear that the movie is not entirely about sex. Sure, there’s a titular sexual activity or two to be found here — as well as a lot of skin (male and female alike) — but, ultimately, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, is a story about friends. [Oh, and for the record: “orgy” does not necessarily mean a “sex orgy.” Yes, that’s completely irrelevant here, but I wanted to point it out just the same.] The story here finds a large group of friends who have been good comrades since their teens (a rarity, to say the least). Every year, Eric (Jason Sudeikis, Saturday Night Live, The Cleveland Show), the imposed “leader” of the pack, hosts an epic, themed party at his family’s Hamptons beach home.
The day after the White Trash Bash, however, Eric receives a surprise visit from his father (an uncredited cameo by Don Johnson, who wasn’t exactly active when this feature was shot in 2008), who announces he’s selling the house come Labor Day. This, of course, means no more parties for Eric and his friends. And so, determining this will be their last opportunity to act like teenagers, Eric decides to make their final festivity an orgy. His friends, however (Boston Legal’s Lake Bell, The League’s Nick Kroll, Michelle Borth, Martin Starr, Lindsay Sloane, Angela Sarafyan), aren’t entirely convinced at first, though — with the exception of Mike, (Tyler Labine), Eric’s overweight and obnoxious cohort in crime.
As the Labor Day event draws nigh, though, everybody finds their own reason for participating in the act of group sex; even the recently-married couple (Will Forte and Lucy Punch) with child whom nobody else wants to invite. A highlight has Sudeikis and Labine conduct a bit of research at a mattress warehouse, wherein secret orgies take place, conducted by the great David Koechner himself (a memorable scene indeed).
But the writer/director team of Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck (who have written for King of the Hill, Frasier, The Late Show with David Letterman and The Larry Sanders Show) haven’t achieved greatness here. Their film isn’t as smooth as some of its less-appealing, mass-marketed, outwardly vulgar counterparts, but it works because they have incorporate a number of actual bits and pieces from their own lives into the characters (I almost cried laughing when Eric complained about foot cramps during sex: something I am not wholly unfamiliar to!), and the film’s main cast — most of whom are television performers by trait — utilize their innate comedic skills to the best of their ability (especially Nick Kroll, who plays a neurotic hypochondriac named Adam — go figure).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases this “fresh from a limited theatrical engagement” feature that took a few years to be released in the first place to DVD in an Unrated form with a number of special features, including an audio commentary by Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, and star Jason Sudeikis; several deleted scenes; a gag reel (did they really need to call it that, given the film’s title?); and a behind-the-scenes/making-of featurette entitled “How to Film an Orgy.”
It’s no doubt destined to offend anyone with a heightened sense of moral superiority, most of whom will miss the point of the picture altogether, erroneously focusing on the film’s raunchiness instead. But, much like passing this one by based on the fact that you’ve never heard of it or it didn’t hit theaters nationwide, would be a mistake. I suggest you give it a chance and then decide: don’t let the title dissuade you from enjoying this funny, potential cult fave.