Never Again is a romantic comedy about falling in love despite your better judgment. An exterminator and jazz pianist in the noble model of Gary Cooper and other '40's screen legends, Christopher is having a sexual identity crisis. He hasn't been able to perform with the young women he's been dating, and is looking for sexual inspiration. Grace, an administrator for Mentors of New York, sends her final child off to college and then realizes that she hasn't tended to her own needs in a very long time. When Christopher meets Grace at a gay bar, her best friends admonish her that it's not a good idea to start a heterosexual relationship with a man you meet in a gay bar. Through human insecurities and foibles, and the refreshing reminder that the Boomer generation is still very much sexually viable, Christopher and Grace defy the odds of it never happening again. In a real, meaningful and adult fashion, they fall in love. Written by
A romantic farce with complications. The movie loves its over-50 characters yet presents them behaving ridiculously in outrageous situations.
Core to "Never Again" is the perspective and experience of liberated, divorced, over-50 women with sexual relationships. These are presumed and exemplified without being examined. Under 25 women, even the heroine's daughter, show themselves to be inert, callow dolts. Their parents live vivid lives with humor and pain, joy and despair, wit and incredulity, dignity and abnegation. So the generational roles are reversed from the usual teenage romantic comedy; that will keep a lot of viewers away. Additionally, the movie frankly talks and pictures frank abundant and diverse sex, which will keep a lot of over-25 women away.
The movie's topic, two individuals in a romantic relationship, interests woman most, but structurally the movie is presented as symmetrical among the genders, with an early alternation between the lives and concerns of its male and female leads. Further, both have friends who are core to the movie: the other half of a jazz duet in the case of Christopher and two close gabbies for Grace. In the end, though, "women do more of everything," as Christopher's buddy says, and our hero confesses to Grace that "you were right about everything," so we are back to women-centric starting place.
Curiously, the words do not match the deeds portrayed. While Grace complains (and we are supposed to agree) that Christopher has a standard Madonna/whore complex about women, nothing of the sort is pictured. Rather, the relationship starts in sex, and he comes to love and appreciate her fully through what is revealed in sex and develops as part of sex. Again, while Christopher supposedly fears intimacy, no fear is actually shown -- he relishes intimacy and honesty (and has a male friendship exemplifying these) and the under 25 women bore him because they offer neither. Instead, threats to the relationship come from the constraints of social context -- the daughter, the friends, and the social demands to be insincere and superficial. When these press in, Christopher starts having second thoughts.
Claybaugh is outstanding -- I haven't laughed so hard in years as I did at her strap-on scene. What would the part look like performed with less skill and charm? Unpleasant, perhaps. Grace carelessly injures her daughter, her friends, and her boyfriend whenever things don't go exactly her way. The farce, the happy ending, the acting, and the perspective all move attention away from the heroine's actual problems. She is brave, inventive and winsome, and we over-50 males are happy to fall in love with her.
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