• Jennifer Green

Review: "Sex Appeal"

Fast Times at Ridgemont High meets Clueless in this update on the teen sex comedy that manages to be both innocent and at times shockingly raunchy.


The naivety comes from Sex Appeal's earnest main character (a convincing Mika Abdalla), who pursues sexual knowledge and experience with an academic intensity. Her three moms and her high school friends are a portrait of decency, even while openly discussing explicit sexual and anatomical concepts.


They also play against type (according to high school movies) -- the cheerleader is the prude, the jock always gets in trouble, the bespectacled Asian guy seems to know the most about pleasing a woman, and the love interest (Disney alum Jake Short), who looks like a young, curly-haired Justin Bateman, plays the trumpet.

Some of the funniest scenes in Sex Appeal happen when characters orgasm: these are envisioned as elaborate and hilarious stage sets (Esther Williams-ish synchronized swimming numbers or a Grease-style ballad, for example). They're meant to portray the sheer wonderment the characters are feeling, how physical pleasure transports them each to their own magical worlds.


The actors charmingly convey the irrepressible hormonal energy and excitement of first love. Paris Jackson's cameo as a world-weary and sexually experienced older lady is a great addition. Sex Appeal will turn some viewers off, but what it aims to do, it does with originality and wit.

 

Read the full review at Common Sense Media.