Better Than Sex

At a party in Australia, a dress designer (Susie Porter) and a wildlife photographer due to return to London (David Wenham) meet, strike up a conversation, and decide to share a ride home. After a moment's hesitation, they embark on a no-strings-attached one-night stand, a plan that falls apart as the night stretches into several days of sex and conversation, marked by an easy rapport that neither participant wants to surrender. Neither can quite confess that fact to the other, but they make it clear in documentary-style, after-the-fact interviews à la An Affair Of Love or Leaving Las Vegas. Finding a space where sitcom antics meet soft porn, writer-director Jonathan Teplitzky's debut is seldom less than pleasant. In roles that could have invited self-consciousness, Wenham and Porter give relaxed performances, and while Teplitzky's camera spends a lot of time roving over bare flesh, he makes it feel intimate rather than exploitative. If his dialogue could do the same, he might have made a great film instead of merely an engaging one. In their discussions of contemporary sexual and romantic mores, Wenham and Porter tread territory pressed flat by everyone from Woody Allen and Diane Keaton to David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston, though their off-the-cuff charisma makes it possible to periodically forget that familiarity. Breezy charm and simulated sex can only take a film so far, however, and though it's easy to see why the comically attractive couple never tires of each other over the course of their tryst, or grows weary of Porter's oversized studio apartment, it becomes increasingly difficult to share their enthusiasm.

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