A guy's life is turned around by an email, which includes the names of everyone he's had sex with and ever will have sex with. His situation gets worse when he encounters a femme fatale (Ryder) who targets men guilty of sex crime.
A serpentine day in the life of ten seemingly disparate women: a porn star, a flight attendant, a psychiatrist, a masseuse, a bartender, a pair of call girls, etc. All of them with one crucial thing in common. Trouble.
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Just before he's to marry Fiona, Roderick Blank receives an anonymous e-mail with 101 names on it; Fiona's is the 29th, the first 28 are women Rod has slept with, and the 30th turns out to be the stripper at his bachelor party. The notion that he will have sex with 70 more people sends Rod into crisis mode, especially after three odd men in an aseptic office confirm that a celestial machine has made an error. They suggest destroying the list, but Rod finds that easier said than done. Working his way through it consumes him, plus he realizes that death may await him after #101. Meanwhile, a femme fatale nicknamed Death Nell is putting men into a coma. Are they fated to meet? Written by
In a world where good ol' fantasy movie making has just three letters attached to it (you guessed it: "SFX" - a la everything from majestic Lord of the Rings to cheesy Godzilla - jeez, even the romantic ventures like City of Angels couldn't do away with the bag of tricks), comes a different kind of fantasy-based movie. It's different - I'll tell ya that.
So what does this movie bring to us? The (blatantly visible) low budget. A cast almost riddled with relatively unknown (but promising) actors. A suite of devilishly hot women in stand-in (well, mostly "lie-down") roles. And, needless to say, a premise that is the part of every hot blooded human male's wet dreams. Are you with me yet? I promise, I'm not talking about the the 70s campy soft porn movie that you saw recently.
What would happen if a strapping young man (Simon Baker) got a magical e-mail one fine day listing all the women he had slept with and was going to ever sleep with in future? And, what if that lucky SOB actually had 101 names listed on that list? "Sex & Death 101" tries to answer. And, for most part, gets it right.
Someone once said: "Control your fate or somebody else will". And so goes the story of the young man who allows the piece of printed email to take control over his actions - which in this case means... well, he notches another one over his already very full belt. Somewhere between the disbelief over the email (despite the reassurances of the geek squad who manage the wondrous machine that sent out the hoopla causing email) and disbelief over his good fortune, our hero undergoes those human emotions that we all know very well: Guilt, Angst, Desperation. The intermix of his friends' advice and bickering adds an element of realism even in an escapist fantasy like this.
Winona Ryder plays the "death knell" sounding temptress who has been seducing perverted men to coma ridden sleep to, you know, get back at the evil men who have inflicted untold suffering on women. And you just know that Poison Ivy's parallel track story has to intersect with the story of our list-holding loverboy at some point. And it does. Therein is that taste of "stretching at the thread" that the viewer is left with. The setup seems a little bit forced. But hey, it's supposed to be escapist dark funny romcom - so what the hell, right?
The movie's premise ain't real, but the events and reactions are. Which is that unique mix of traits that makes this movie a little more than the regular spiel that Hollywood throws at us. It's definitely a good watch. And not to miss the allegoric play on the number in the title. It takes 101 women to teach the protagonist the basic meaning of sex - and death. Clever, no?
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