Surviving Sex

Surviving Sex is a pretty good, facile sitcom by David Landsberg about the plight of romantic nebbish accountant Stan (Jeff Marlowe), trying to steer his battered life raft through the crosscurrents of his own docility and inertia, and the presumed desire of the women in his life for a real man who knows how to degrade them. That isn't really the life they want, but it's the romantic performance they want from their fellas. Nice guys finish last. Woody Allen has handled all this with more astuteness and aplomb, nonetheless Landsberg has crafted some witty, satirical riffs on the double standards set by women, which emerge from Stan's mouth in hilarious, furious crescendos. Marlowe is an accomplished comic whose droll reactions to the mayhem surrounding him produce some intoxicating moments. This is the kind of guy who financially supports his girlfriend — foxy, aspiring actress Denise (Amy Handelman). Stan then has to endure watching her rehearse in his own living room a sizzling love scene with her stud scene partner (Steve Coombs). After Denise dumps him, Stan finds himself manacled to the kitchen table with a new date (Dana Green) trying out her dominatrix fantasies. There's a pleasing performance by Mandy June Turpin as Larry's wife, Jennifer, particularly when she must handle her hubby's announcement that he's in love with Stan. The farce trips over itself, under Susan Morgenstern's otherwise fine direction, with strains of plausibility, such as Stan opening his front door with his trousers wrapped around his ankles, just so his best buddy, Larry (Peter Story), can check to see how his date is going. When looking to have some sex toys delivered, Stan checks the phone book. Does anyone younger than 40 even use a phone book anymore? Falcon Theater, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank; Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m.; through March 1. (818) 955-8101.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 4 p.m. Starts: Feb. 6. Continues through March 1, 2009

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