“A Guide to Second Date Sex” (MA) ** and a half
ABOUT learning from past failures, this British comedy is the feature film debut for writer/director Rachel Hirons.
For second-date sex, there has to be first-date sex. Did it happen or not? If not, why did it not please the participants?
The screenplay begins on a Friday night. Ryan (George MacKay) and Laura (Alexandra Roach) find themselves side by side at the bar. They talk. Something is beginning to smoulder. They decide to test each other’s interest two Saturdays later at his place.
There, and then, consummation takes place. Satisfaction remains aloof; in fact, it tumbles into negative territory. By the time the film reaches close to the middle of its run time, we might be forgiven for wondering how it’s going to develop.
While sex underpins Ms Hirons’ film, its depiction is limited to Ryan and Laura separately trimming their pubic hair above the top line of their knickers and flushing the debris down the toilet. Two stars was beginning to gain traction in my mind,
Rescue came with the unheralded arrival of Ryan’s foxy ex girlfriend Tufts (Emma Rigby) bearing gifts, bubbly and a strong line in “let’s make up and why aren’t we getting stuck into each other again”. At this point, the film’s tenor and my interest in it begin to turn from down to up. Laura and Tufts were once great chums. That may look like a storyline cliché; indeed, it is one, but be patient. Explanation and resolution are at hand.
It can be days, weeks even, between orgasms. How lovers share that intervening time turns out to be the key to a shared future. The third and following dates are important. The film makes those a distinct possibility for Ryan and Laura.
George MacKay playing Ryan is also the mainstay of “1917” now showing and the Ned Kelly one that recently screened here briefly. Next month, he’ll turn 28. Since a debut playing one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys in 2003, he’s assembled a cinema CV of 41 movie and TV credits. Definitely a man to watch for.