Twenty minutes into this film and I couldn’t see where it was going or why it was granted anything more than a late slot on national television. I decided it had been titled ‘…sexual failures…’ rather than ‘…relationship failures…’ in a sensationalist attempt to draw in the crowds to this home-studio documentary of a failed love life.
We follow our scruffy protagonist as he stops girls in the street to ask ‘why do you think I always get dumped?’ as most of his (numerous) ex-girlfriends refuse to be drawn in to his self-indulgent film. Why won’t they add public humiliation to the pain of a broken relationship I hear you say? I couldn’t understand either.
When he does meet with one who’s not telling him to fuck off he doesn’t even listen, let alone hear, what she’s saying. He doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he’s lazy, he doesn’t commit to the relationship, he behaves badly (drunkenly pinning her mother against a wall and kissing her at a party). He seems to revel in this, as if he knows it’ll make good footage, and struggles to hide a smirk.
But then he tells us about THE BEAST. And the beast’s name is Erectile Dysfunction, every man’s second worst fear (marginally better than dying). And it had been chasing him for 3 years and wouldn’t let him hide in the cave of diversion, or up the tree of blame, or under the floorboards of laughing it off. And how did the beast come alive? He’s still in love with his ex-girlfriend of three years ago and couldn’t emotionally (or physically) participate in any other relationship because he hadn’t dealt with it and wasn’t able to move on.
In order to confront THE BEAST we take a tour of psyco-sexual counsellors, doctors, a husky voiced S&M dominatrix and a packet of Viagra. Disturbing, sad, funny and knees-clamped-together-both-hands-pressed-to-crotch moments follow.
He finally visits the ex-girlfriend in question, having rearranged the interview after over-sleeping the first one (what a surprise). I felt like the worst kind of voyeur, intruding on a moment of honesty and fragility too personal to share. He finally admits that the whole project was a grand way of trying to reconcile with her but he’s too late.
It made entertaining viewing for the large part, and I took away the message that deep down we know what our issues are and what causes them. We just aren’t always brave enough stare them full in the face and deal with them mano a mano. And if you ignore them they don’t go away – they grow two heads and come back at you.
A complete history… might not be the best film of the year but I learned something and I’m damned sure he did. But like the guests on Oprah – why do it in public?
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