I saw this film on the Retroplex movie channel a little over a month ago; I was curious to see what Kate Capshaw's movie debut (before "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom") was like (I didn't see "A Little Sex" when it was in theaters in March 1982). Also, I had read various reviews about "A Little Sex" beforehand, which were mostly negative.
The critics were right: *This film sucked!*
One reviewer said this sorry flick was "(so) full of clichés it's pathetic." Us Magazine put it in their "Don't Bother" column and likened the film to "(a) sitcom which would have worked better on the small screen." Yet another reviewer called "A Little Sex" " (a) nearsighted sexual soap opera with a (snickering and) cynical view of relationships and fidelity." The Catholic News Service's movie rating system rightfully classified the film "morally offensive" (that rating system was administered at that time by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting). And, I also remember (the late) Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave it only 2 stars, meaning barely tolerable.
In fact, this film was so bad - and, as they used to say on "Match Game," "How bad was it?" - it was so bad that the theater in Homewood, Illinois where it was playing (Cineplex Odeon's Diana 3, which I understand - along with the mall in which it was contained, Washington Square - was demolished in the early 2000's) yanked "A Little Sex" off after only one week and replaced it with the *much* better "Chariots of Fire," which won the Oscar for the Best Picture of 1981.
And as for the reader who was expecting to see "boobies" but was disappointed: Well, after all, this was an MTM Enterprises production, and apparently they were trying to transfer their "quality" aura from their TV productions onto the big screen. Still, that "quality" formula *didn't* work in this film, and it certainly couldn't help "A Little Sex" escape its well-deserved R rating. (MTM made only two more big-screen films after "A Little Sex," which were "Just Between Friends" in 1986, starring Mary Tyler Moore and Ted Danson and released by Orion Pictures - but now owned by MGM - and "Clara's Heart" in 1988, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Neil Patrick Harris and released - and still owned - by Warner Bros. Of the two, only "Just Between Friends" was successful, but not by very much.)
But, as the saying goes, "You have to start somewhere," and most of the actors and actresses *indeed* went on to better things. Kate Capshaw, of course, starred as Willie Scott in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" two years later, and eventually became Mrs. Steven Spielberg, as well as the mother of actress Jessica Capshaw and part-owner of DreamWorks Pictures. John Glover starred in "My Dinner With Andre" shortly after this film. And, (the late) Bruce Paltrow, who "directed" the film, later became the father of actress Gwyneth Paltrow; he directed Gwyneth and Huey Lewis in the somewhat-better "Duets" 18 years later. Tim Matheson, on the other hand, starred in another forgettable flop the following year, "Up the Creek," and had difficulty trying to land another big role in feature films. He did mostly TV movies after that, the best one being "The Littlest Victims" in 1989.
And, for those who weren't aware, MTM Enterprises is now *out of business;* in 1998 they were bought out by 21st Century Fox, Inc. (then doing business as NewsCorp) and absorbed into 20th Century Fox. However, "A Little Sex" was co-bankrolled and released by Universal Pictures (perhaps MTM chose Universal to distribute "A Little Sex" because Mary Tyler Moore herself began her big-screen career at Universal in the mid-60's), and Universal eventually wound up owning the film (it was most likely a 60/40 split, the 40% owned by MTM and the remainder by Universal). Universal Pictures Home Entertainment now distributes "A Little Sex" on DVD, and NBC Universal Television Distribution syndicates the film for regular broadcast television, cable and satellite.
But - on the bright side - "A Little Sex" is one less turkey 20th Century Fox has to worry about owning (and God knows Fox already has *plenty* in their long history; the notorious "Myra Breckinridge" quickly comes to mind in that department, but that's another story). Poor Universal!
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