The Olivia Experiment (NR)

Comedy 90 min. August 22, 2014
By Ernest Hardy
The process of figuring out one's sexuality — not just sexual orientation but how it and your terms of masculinity and femininity will manifest and coexist with the rest of your life — is difficult enough in a culture as full of mixed and crossing signals as ours, one still reflexively puritanical yet drenched in porn's aesthetics and dictates. That process is made more complex when you are, or may be, asexual. Olivia is a hypersmart, socially inept, gender studies grad student whose work, her adviser tells her, suffers from a lack of life experience. While life experience and sexual experience are not the same thing, a point missed by writer Alexandra Komisaruk and director Sonja Schenk, Olivia figures that the issue must be her virginity and the fact that she's never felt sexual attraction to anyone, male or female. When Felicia, Olivia's gorgeous blond friend, offers Julian, her gorgeous blond boyfriend, as a human dildo for Olivia, our bespectacled heroine reluctantly agrees to a romp. Hilarity ensues — but not really.

There's a lot of potential in the idea of exploring asexuality in the modern world, but The Olivia Experiment loses it in a sea of clichéd characters (overbearing mom; gay best friend; lovelorn nerds) and jokes that, if filtered through sharper minds, might not play as hackneyed (i.e., a gender studies major who's clueless about anything beyond theory). The performances are overdrawn and the writing is facile; maybe the hetero male–jock and faux-lesbian eye candy will be enough for you.
Sonja Schenk Skye Noel, Kyle More, Brett Baumayr, Jen Lilley, Michelynne McGuire, Dan Gordon, Barbara Lee Bragg Alexandra Komisaruk Alexandra Komisaruk, Sonja Schenk Indican Pictures


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