Sex Appeal review – funny, sincere, and perversely sweet

January 15, 2022
M.N. Miller 1
Film Reviews, Hulu, Streaming Service
4

Summary

Funny, sincere, and perversely sweet!

4

Summary

Funny, sincere, and perversely sweet!

This review of the Hulu film Sex Appeal does not contain spoilers. 

There comes a time when you need to defend a film on its merits and break free from the corner the most stuck-up film critics find themselves in. Yes, most movies are the same. Yes, most films are recycled and minimalist spins on their genre. And finally, most films are bad. Sex Appeal is not one of those films. It’s an often hilarious, sincere, and even perversely sweet teen-comedy that is mature beyond its years. 

Sex Appeal revolves around a high school senior, Avery (played by the delightful Mila Abdalla), a young woman who has spent her entire life achieving academic success. Yet, she can’t solve her social problems without breaking them down with a theoretical tool, like an equation. Here, she is gearing up with her long-distance boyfriend, Casper (Mason Versaw), on what she considers her prom– the StemCom, an annual competition to invent the next great app that must solve one of their problems

Though, Casper wants to get DTF. Before you think the young man wants to develop a drug task force, he wants to pop his cherry. This has Avery perplexed since she is a perfectionist. How does a virgin perfect their first sexual experience? She sets out to perform a research project and a series of experiments to develop the ideal app for help in their pursuits. She comes up with the plan to use her best friend, Logan (Jake Short), as the test subject. They become, uh, “fudge” friends. Even though Logan had held a torch for Avery for years (when he attempted a move on her, she punched him immediately). 

Sex Appeal is directed by Talia Osteen and written by freshman feature screenwriter Tate Hanyok. You may want to call this Hulu comedy an updated American Pie. Instead, they replace a slice of apple with a computer application. (Now, that’s a moneymaker). The team here spins the film into today’s Generation Z maturity. The socially conscious type. Even more mature and culturally competent than their parents. And supportive of one another instead of bullying.

It’s the complete opposite of American Pie‘s breakout character, Stiffler, as one can get.

And that is where Sex Appeal shines. It highlights that fundamental difference and folds them into some of the comedy’s best jokes. There’s the story telling device and interplay of Avery being raised by three lesbian mothers (who are played by Margaret Cho, Rebecca Henderson, and the always hysterical Fortune Feimster). They all work in tandem and are incredibly supportive of destigmatizing her sexual urges with penile art and openly playing p**n on the television. There’s also the brilliant running joke of the High School jock who has anxiety-inducing political correctness. (Again, the anti-Stiffler).

While the outline of Avery, and maybe even Abdalla’s portrayal, shows a lack of instincts of basic social norms, had me initially worried she needs to be checked for being part of the autism spectrum, the chemistry between her and Logan is sweet, awkward, but never disingenuous. The film works because of its tender nature and openness to talk about a subject between peers, which is accurate and played for laughs. 

Sex Appeal is the type of comedy that will find a cult audience, and rightfully so. 

What did you think of Hulu film Sex Appeal? Comment below!

1 thought on “Sex Appeal review – funny, sincere, and perversely sweet

  • January 16, 2022 at 4:00 pm
    Permalink

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for the brilliantly written review. Critics tend to be cynical, better than you types that need to justify their existence by trashing anything that doesn’t fit into their world view is: Wall Street Journal critic. This film is such a welcome relief to all the jaded, sad, often violent representations of sexuality in media. When have we ever seen a female-centric presentation of orgasm in a teen film that isn’t p**n, and that is tastefully done?

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