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Film review: Not enough sweet in tart 'Ohio'

Unfunny comedy doesn't redeem characters at end

Published: Friday, Sept. 1 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

"THE OH IN OHIO" — * 1/2 — Parker Posey, Paul Rudd, Danny De Vito; not rated, probable R (vulgarity, profanity, sex, drugs, brief nudity).

"The Oh in Ohio" clearly aims to be the female-centric version of last year's comedy hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." It even features one member of that film's supporting cast, scene-stealing Paul Rudd.

But while "Oh" is every bit as crude and sexually obsessed as "Virgin," it lacks the necessary sweetness to counterbalance its tartness. "Virgin" redeemed itself by redeeming its characters at the end. That lesson seems to have been lost on this at-times painfully unfunny comedy.

Parker Posey stars as Priscilla Chase, an Ohio woman who's seeking fulfillment of the sexual kind. Priscilla's problems in the bedroom have put a strain on her marriage to Jack (Rudd), a burned-out science teacher.

While she seeks enlightenment from a series of would-be sexual gurus, he's off having an affair with one of his students, the adventurous Kristen Taylor (Mischa Barton, from TV's "The O.C.").

The film isn't lacking for stars. Danny De Vito, Liza Minnelli and an uncredited Heather Graham show up as people trying to help Priscilla. But co-screenwriter/director Billy Kent doesn't give any of them much to do. Anything funny, at least.

Instead, most of the "comedy" has Posey bumbling through one embarrassingly unfunny situation after another. She emerges nearly unscathed, which is nothing short of miraculous.

She and the supporting cast deserve hazard pay for managing that small feat — that especially holds true for De Vito, who has to sport a terrible mullet hairstyle.

"The Oh in Ohio" is not rated but probably would receive an R for crude sexual humor, strong sexual language (profanity and references), simulated sex and other sexual contact, drug content (including marijuana use) and brief nudity (veiled female nudity as well as nude art and props). Running time: 88 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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