Wednesday, March 24, 2004Every once in a while instead of renting a new release at the video store, I'll take a gamble and pick an old classic I've never seen before. This week I decided to get Woody Allen's 1972 id-exploring ensemble farce, Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Sex,* But Were Afraid to Ask.
Let's just say...it hasn't aged very well, and it's little droopy in the trousers. But then again, look at Woody Allen.
In the intervening 32 years, the impertinent questions answered in Allen's bawdy vignettes are no longer the domain of dogeared paperbacks in the back rows of the bookstore, but glare eye-level from every women's magazine at the grocery checkout aisle: "Do Aphrodisiacs Work?" "Are Transvestites Homosexual?" and "Why Do Some Women Have Trouble Achieving Orgasm?" These burning questions once reddened cheeks at theaters everywhere, but remember, these were the Nixon years.
The funniest bits? "What's My Perversion?" - a mock TV game show spoof of "What's My Line?" complete with fake commercials, featuring a young Regis Philbin as a panelist; Burt Reynolds and Tony Randall as white-coated control room supervisors inside a man's brain during a hot date (with Allen dressed as a hapless "gun-shy" sperm, afraid of where he might be ejected - on a ceiling, or heaven forbid, "what if this is a homosexual encounter?"), and finally, an absurdist Eurocinema spoof in which Allen complains about his new wife's frigidity to anyone and everyone who will listen. He's hilarious as the shady "Latin lover," speaking in subtitled Italian with a Brooklyn accent.
The w[u]rst? Gene Wilder as a sheep-obsessed physician who ends up on Skid Row chugging Woolite™ in the horrible, misnamed segment "What is Sodomy?" You'll never watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory the same way again. Equally bizarre is a pre-Rocky Horror Frankenstein groaner with Allen as a "Brad" to a young blonde's "Janet," featuring a 50-foot-high milk-spurting breast unleashed upon an innocent town by a mad sex-research scientist.
See this if you must, but bring some aspirin: for your head, not for between your knees, as in the contraceptive method Ann Landers once suggested to young women in the 1970's.
Baby, we have come a long way.