I remember seeing a trailer for this movie about a group of thirty-something friends who decide to engage in an orgy and I thought it looked like the kind of broad comedy whose only funny moments were those shown in the trailer and that probably lacked any depth of plot but tried to make up for it with sex and/or nudity. Some months (maybe a year?) later, I saw that A Good Old Fashioned Orgy was streaming on Netflix and, with nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon, I hit play. An hour and a half later, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really liked the movie, much sweeter and deeper than its trailer implies, and way funnier.
Orgy begins with one raucous, outrageously-themed (white trash/hillbilly theme? One word: insane) party. The host is Eric (Jason Sudeikis), the adult son of the home’s owner and a grown man suffering from Peter Pan syndrome. His close group of friends is there and all are immediately introduced: the vaguely uptight engaged new parents Kate and Glenn (Lucy Punch and Will Forte), annoying know-it-all therapist Alison (Lake Bell) and her pretentious-as-all-hell boyfriend Marcus (Rhys Coiro), the formerly fat, insecure Laura (Lindsay Sloane), the one who casually dated Eric and has since harbored unrequited feelings for him, Sue (Michelle Borth), the affable, chubby one, Mike (Tyler Labine), the wanna-be rock star Doug (Martin Starr) and his girlfriend Willow (Angela Sarafyan) and the nerdy germophobe Adam (Nick Kroll). All are present at the balls-out, riotous party as well as roughly a hundred other people. And this, apparently, is what this group of friends does every weekend: have humungous, fantastic parties at Eric’s father’s beach home in the Hamptons.
So when Eric’s dad decides to sell the place and the group realizes they’ll soon have to grow up, what else would they do but decide on one final blow-out. The theme for the final bash? You guessed it: an orgy. No other guests, no unwilling participants, no modesty or indiscretion. Just eight long-time friends exploring their sexuality and enjoying each other in previously uncharted ways. It sounds absurd and in all reality, I don’t know that any such group of friends could pull it off and remain friends. Awkwardness, jealousies and insecurities would inevitably rear their ugly heads but for the sake of the movie, it actually kind of works. Because the truth is, Orgy is much less about the actual orgy than it is about a group of young adults who finally accept that they’ve got to grow up. The inhibitions that melt away during the planning and execution of the orgy also reveal a number of previously unfaced truths and the bonds between them are strengthened.
While all major players deliver convincing, endearing performances, the stand out in Orgy is Tyler Labine who plays the overweight bff to Sudeikis’s charming man-boy. Labine’s Mike is obliviously crude, delightfully amiable and irresistibly likeable. The chemistry between all eight friends is believable and easy but that between Mike and Eric feels genuine, just like two besties from way back whose friendship has progressed to a full-fledged bromance. I laughed out loud repeatedly during the film’s 95 minutes and the majority of those laughs came from Labine. He shined in this flick and I truly hope he gets more (and good) comedic roles.
Look, if you don’t appreciate humor of a sexual and/or crass nature or if you are easily offended, then Orgy isn’t for you. Otherwise, I highly recommend it. It won’t change your life or deepen your understanding of the human condition but it will make you laugh and it might even make your heart swell with its unorthodox but sweetly good-natured take on friendships and the bonds that make and keep them.