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BETTER THAN SEX

SYNOPSIS:
Josh (David Wenham) and Cin (Susie Porter) meet at a party, but it's not until they share a cab home that a meaningless one night stand seems like a good idea. Josh, a photographer, is on his way back to London in three days, and Cin. . . well, she fancies him. They like it so much they decide to make it a two night stand. But then complications set in as their unattached emotions seem to be getting attached.

"The virility of the script matches the subject matter, as Jonathan Teplitzky explores a situation he knows from first hand experience: a new relationship starting out on the eve of one partner going off overseas. But it is never intended to be a relationship, and much of the film's dynamic derives from that premise, while its charm is generated by the two outstanding performances. Wenham and Porter ensure that the tone of frivolous sex is balanced with credible characters whose strengths and weaknesses are engaging, amusing and accessible. As we and they begin to warm to each other in more ways than the one under the sheets, the confines of a two-hander in a bedroom fall away and they are seen in context with the world around them. Added to this very cool ambiance is a cinematic device - well, three devices: 1 - stylised commentary to camera by (groomed and coifed) Josh and Cin as if recounting their experience for a doco; 2 - the ever-present taxi driver (Kris McQuade) who propels the plot at a couple of key points; 3 - a chorus of friends commenting on various kinds of sexual activity and other matters, as they arise (as it were). Indeed, Tiplitzky engineers a remarkably fine ending which fuses the characters' decisions with their doco-commentating alter-egos elegantly and satisfactorily. It's an entertaining film with spirited, inoffensive sex and enough heart to make it genuine, sincere, populist - as well as a creative success."
Andrew L. Urban

"Cheeky, funny and disarmingly charming, Better Than Sex is a delightful encounter that grapples with sex and relationships both superficially and deeper. It's an outstanding debut for Jonathan Teplitzky, whose keenly observant script is readily accessible and manages to entertain as well as impress by its forthright honesty and deft humour. Our attachment to the two central characters is immediate; their story appealing and instantly engaging. The simple structure allows the very complex essence of the relationship evolve naturally and intimately. Bearing the entire weight of the film, Susie Porter and David Wenham, shine effortlessly, conveying multi-layered emotional responses throughout. Porter bares her soul as easily as she sheds her clothes; she is warm, forthright, honest and totally tantalising. Wenham complements her perfectly theirs is an immediate cohesion of styles and chemistry. Casual sex becomes not so casual, and so begin the complications. This essence, also explored in A Pornographic Affair, is handled totally differently here - Aussie style. The forthrightness and honesty is as raw as an exposed freckle. Although Porter and Wenham spend most of the film in varying shades of undress, executing their passions on the floorboards, in the bath and on the bed, there's little sensuality, and plenty of clever, effective and endearing humour. For anyone who has wondered why it takes women so long to get ready, there's a little revelation here. Better Than Sex is a breath of fresh air, an irresistible and playful look at love, sex and relationships.
Louise Keller

"The eternal themes themes of desire, sex and love receive a fresh and involving workout in this engaging Australian film. With a passing resemblance to the technique used in A Pornographic Affair, the three-day stand of Josh and Cin is interspersed with documentary-like testimonials in front of an unseen interviewer which keep the story bubbling by gradually revealing deeper layers of the emotions at play. It's also refreshing to see an Australian film about relationships played out by characters who aren't clueless early twenty somethings sitting around drinking cappuccinos, wondering if their dreams of being filmmakers will be realised. Cin and Josh have been around long enough for us to take seriously and become involved in what starts out as a casual thing before the scary and tantalising prospect arrives of there being more to this than either expected or even wanted. Susie Porter, who can do no wrong it seems, is a dynamic screen presence and plays Cin with a beautifully controlled mix of caution and excitement. Surprisingly it's Wenham whose character disappoints slightly, being modelled too strongly on the basically correct notion of most men not being great talkers when intimacy and emotion are called for. This results in moments in the second act where we wonder if Cin shouldn't simply take the sex and run but fortunately Josh finds his voice before it's too late. Worth a special nod is David Hirschfelder's fine score which is perfectly attuned to the shifting tempos of the mating ritual and aftermath. Despite some lapses, including the addition of an unnecessary Greek Chorus-like cab driver played by Kris McQuade, Better Than Sex is better than your average examination of the chemical and emotional reactions which draw men and women together."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

Andrew L. Urban talks to

SUSIE PORTER

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TRAILER

betterthansex-themovie.com

BETTER THAN SEX (MA)
(AUS)

CAST: Susie Porter, David Wenham, Kris McQuade, Catherine McClements

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Teplitzky

PRODUCER: Frank Cox, Bruna Papandrea

SCRIPT: Jonathan Teplitzky

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Garry Phillips

EDITOR: Shawn Seet

MUSIC: David Hirschfelder

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tara Kamath

RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: New Vision

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 9, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: 21st Century Pictures Video

VIDEO RELEASE: March 28, 2001







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