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[IMDB link] [Netflix link] Gregg Araki‘s 7th movie, and his most optimistic, now that he is done with his Teen Apocalypse Trilogy (Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, Nowhere). Yet despite its optimism, this controversial movie still only garnered a 5.1 on IMDB (3.2 stars on Netflix). (Factoid: I had forgotten that Araki also directed the amazingly-funny stoner movie Smiley Face, starring Anna Faris.)

PEOPLE: Gregg Araki directs. Kathleen Robertson (aka Clare Arnold from Beverly Hills 90210, also in Psycho Beach Party, Nowhere, and Scary Movie 2) plays the leading lady/main character. The two dudes are played by Matt Keeslar (Psycho Beach Party, Scream 3) and Johnathon Schaech (How To Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog, The Doom Generation). And… another movie with Adam Carolla in a bit part?!?!?

QUIRKS: This is a movie about polyamory. Most of Araki’s movies have some kind of sexual quirk — usually a gay character, as Araki himself is gay. This one is polyamory. This movie is not really focused exclusively on the sexual act of the threesome — like National Lampoon’s One, Two, Many — but rather on the three-way emotional interplay involved in a polyamourous relationship. And that’s really the focus of the whole movie.

BAD STUFF: It’s not a comedy? But the situations are so interesting that you might be smiling anyway.

GOOD STUFF: Finallya movie dealing with non-traditional sex that does it right!

None of the “everyone’s lives goes to shit / it doesn’t work out because they have sex not approved by the moral majority” — something that annoyed me about Boogie Nights; Kinsey; National Lampoon’s One, Two, Many; and pretty much every other movie I’ve seen that might involve threesomes, the porn industry, or non-traditional sex and relationship structures.

[highlight for spoilers] …And a happy ending! In an Araki movie, no less! A happy ending that the moral majority might not approve of — MAJOR SPOILERS NOW — she decides to permanently stay with both men in a 3-way relationship, after becoming pregnant. The credits feature a scene of a baby looking up from a crib at its mommy and two daddies — who then start taking her clothes off. They drop the the floor, out of the baby’s view. The end. Everyone’s happy. And in a way gay-marriage-hating people are bound to hate!

CONCLUSION: Taboo happiness is far more entertaining than normal happiness. Good stuff!!

RECOMMENDATION: If this were a movie about a guy and a girl… I would think it lame, and not want to watch it. But this is a movie about 2 guys and a girl. The situations are far more unique. I think this is one of Araki’s best movies. It should definitely be seen by the sexually/romantically close-minded/prudish/religious — just to make them writhe in their seats a bit and see what they could be missing. We both liked this!

FRIENDS’ OPINIONS: 

Eve & Chris: “So, we weren’t crazy about Splendor because the alternative lifestyle didn’t really play into the plot at all. She could’ve been with one semi-unemployed guy instead of two and would have had the same plot. So it was neat that they had that arrangement, and I bought that the one guy moved in becuase the other one did, but the main conflict was about the rich-stable guy, and really, the triad was irrelevant to that exchange. // So I think that’s a pretty big one for us, and we like Seeing Other People better, because it was ABOUT lifestyle stuff.”

COINCIDENCE #1: (Splendor, Brutal Massacre: A Comedy) 2 movies within a week that had people going to the hotel room 333 (half of 666!).

COINCIDENCE #2: (Splendor, Just Friends) 2 movies in a row with scenes where characters romantically involved are talking to each other in a public place that has large screens where, on those screens, are the same people talking to each other.

COINCIDENCE #3: (Splendor, Wasted) 2 movies within a week or so that both unexpectedly had Adam Corolla in a small part.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Benj loved it.

Mood: no want winter
Music: X-Ray Spex – Age