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A Complete History of My Sexual Failures (2008)

Unrated | | Documentary, Comedy | 27 June 2008 (UK)
A humorous look at life for a loser in love.



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Credited cast:
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Olivia Trench ... Herself (as Olivia)


Independent filmmaker Chris Waitt attempts to interview his ex-girlfriends to find out why they dumped him. This revealing and humorous documentary sees the slacker filmmaker go on a sexual and emotional odyssey in a desperate quest to solve his innumerable problems. Written by Anonymous

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Not worth missing the Football League highlights for.
5 April 2010 | by See all my reviews

I remember reading reviews, some quite negative, about Chris Waitt's film and I think a few might not have got the conceit; the film is more of a mockumentary, with the audience laughing with and at Waitt; it is the comedy of embarrassment rather than a genuine examination of romantic relationships.

First of all, I'd like to put on record that Waitt comes across as a fundamentally good-natured, if lazy, shambling shaggy-dog of a man (shaggy dog story), essentially quite lovable. Compared to the way some men treat women, Waitt is not that bad a person: his main faults appear to be laziness and a lack of commitment.

As the film progressed, it became obvious that a lot of the scenes had been set-up (his exasperated producers, a blind-date) and too many of the people inhabit Waitt's media world making you doubt its veracity (one ex is an actress, he ends up finding love with a journalist). It is a piece of guerilla/gonzo film making with the film-maker's mother becoming a character, exasperated at her son's feckless behaviour, with her pithy comments.

The first girlfriend, it is eventually revealed, was from Waitt's childhood (eleven), so completely undercutting the adult conversation and our expectations. I don't doubt many of Waitt's former girlfriends refused to appear, but maybe that was more to do with appearing on film than with Waitt himself. The scene with the girlfriend hidden in a hotel room and then giving her scathing comments via a machine obscuring her voice came across as comedic as did the encounter with an ex- in the Indian restaurant; it emerges that since Waitt, she has only gone out with Asian men. It then becomes obvious that the film is sending up both Waitt and romance as he pushes things to the extreme.

Halfway through the film, I began to lose interest and decided to catch up the highlights of the Football League Show on another channel before catching the end of the film. It isn't serious enough to deserve full attention.

The film does end on a more serious, optimistic note. At the beginning of the film, one ex-girlfriend from his teenage years is asked what she learnt from the end of their relationship and she replies about learning to do things differently and,in a sense, this is the lesson Waitt learns as well as appreciating a former girlfriend and the love she felt for him.

The film is faintly reminiscent of John Cusack's role in Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity', (a more conventionally structured and narrative driven account) also punctuated with moments of embarrassing comedy (the ex-girlfriend traumatised from the break-up).

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