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Relax... It's Just Sex (1998)

 -  Comedy  -  10 June 1998 (France)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,350 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 18 critic

A mixed group of individuals - lesbian, gays, and heterosexuals who all frequent a local bar struggle to accept each others lifestyles. However when the two gays are attacked and fight back... See full summary »

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Title: Relax... It's Just Sex (1998)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vincey Sauris
...
Buzz Wagner (as T.C. Carson)
...
Emile Pillsbury
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Robin Moon
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Megan Pillsbury
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Tara Ricotto
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Alicia Pillsbury
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Sarina Classer
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Auntie Mahalia
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Jared Bartoziak
Eddie Garcia ...
Javi Rogero
...
Gus Rogero
...
Diego Tellez
Gibbs Tolsdorf ...
Dwight Bergman
...
Marcia Fu
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Storyline

A mixed group of individuals - lesbian, gays, and heterosexuals who all frequent a local bar struggle to accept each others lifestyles. However when the two gays are attacked and fight back and ultimately rape one of their attackers, the group becomes strongly divided on their actions. Jennifer Tilly is the mother hen of the group who tries to hold everyone together. The lesbian lovers break up when one admits to having an affair with a man. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, language and a scene of violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 June 1998 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Relax... It's Just Sex  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$269,167 (USA) (30 April 1999)

Gross:

$452,654 (USA) (10 December 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Steven J. Wolfe's aunt makes a cameo as the nurse who leads the cast to Tara's hospital room. See more »

Quotes

Tara Ricotto: Hello Vincey, it's me, Tara... guess what? Javi and Buzz just had a huge fight. According to Javi it was more dramatic than Gone with the Wind. So, let me tell you exactly how he told me, but ya have to swear not to tell anyone. Get ready for this Vincey, cause I know it's going to be a real shocker, but they are arguing about H... I... V, big surprise, right? Buzz, he pulled another Larry Kramer with Javi's doctor, so Javi's all and then Buzz is all and that's when Javi goes and they are going...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Selected Clothing for Javi and Additional Cast Members provided by Pop Icon/Herbie Velez See more »

Connections

References Jaws (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Hey
Written by Bonnie Warren & Anthony Newett
Performed by Anthony Newett & Rich Orr
See more »

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User Reviews

Better than I had anticipated
29 May 1999 | by See all my reviews

This is a fairly decent film with a really lame title. The film's opening is even misleading, starting with some pretty raucous gay sex--so from the outset it appears as if the film is going to be yet another dull explorating of the trials of gay life in the 90s. And there have been a lot of those films lately. Fortunately, director PJ Castellaneta is more wily than he lets on, and allows the film to evolve into something more intricate and at times very touching.

The film manages to balance a cast of widely different characters and maintain a sense of order without devolving into a who's who of politically correct character inclusion. You have the straights, the gays, the lesbians, the bisexuals, blacks, whites, latinos, and the film even manages to present Christianity in positive tones, albeit with a few well placed jabs now and then. The scripts evenly doles out its emotional weight, never straying into farce when it would be the easy thing to do, nor does it list grind into maudlin sentimentality when it would also be the easy thing to do.

The story revolves around the lives of a coterie of friends of various sexual orientations and temperament. "Relax" follows their development with humor and insight, sometimes relying too much on an intrusive voiceover by the main character, Vince. The emotional centerpiece of the film is a gay bashing where the victim suddenly gains the upper hand. This moment threatens to overwhelm the final half of the film because it raises a crucial question that the "Relax" never adequately, answers (nor did I feel it should have answered), which is, In a world where one is oppressed by violence, to what degree is violence--retributive, eye-for-an-eye violence--an appropriate response?

This is just one of a number of issues that the film raises and leaves for your consideration. Perhaps it is just as well, since it seems like to dwell overly long on these issues would overwhelm the rest of the film; indeed, Castellaneta felt it necessary to remove Vince from the main thread of the film, whereas he was hitherto the central character. In his place, Jennifer Tilly takes over, and she takes the film to its conclusion. Tilly usually goes for the quirks or the sex appeal of her film characters, but this time around she plays a woman whose quirks don't overwhelm her personality, merely compliment. She makes the film.

It was also nice to see a gay film that didn't trot out the familiar, banal diatribes against Christianity. Granted, the gay Christian couple does come across as a little hokey at times, they are never portrayed as weird, evil, judgmental, or exclusionary. Indeed, they are a fitting completion to the the microcosmos that revolves around Tilly's maternal presence.

I came to the film with few expectations and came away rather pleased. There are still a few drawn out moments that could have been trimmed, but the overall package of this film was a surprising delight.


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