Parker Posey is the reigning queen of neurosis. With her twitches, ticks, tantrums and melodramatic floundering, the indie film star does "basket case" like no one else. True, her shtick has gotten a bit familiar and some would say, old these past few years, and, given her casting in blustering blockbusters like Superman Returns and Blade: Trinity, she's lost a bit of that art-house edge.
But Posey returns to her crazy, twitchy, indie roots with The OH in Ohio, playing Priscilla, a successful married woman from Cleveland whose life appears picture-perfect on the surface but in the bedroom, it's a different story. Priscilla has never had an orgasm in her life, despite the valiant efforts of her schoolteacher husband (Paul Rudd) who's at the end of his rope due to her frigidity. When he moves into the garage, Priscilla finally breaks down and buys a vibrator and lo and behold, finally discovers her O-face, and promptly becomes addicted to her new little friend.
With her horizons now broadened, Priscilla feels free to explore love in unexpected places specifically, the weeble wobble-shaped swimming pool tycoon of Cleveland, Wayne the Pool Guy (Danny DeVito).
That's right, kids, Parker and Danny get it on in a pool. Consider yourself duly warned.
Now, to be fair, the film's message is that love can be found in unexpected places if one can look past the surface. While that's a touching, lovely sentiment, the sight of the half-naked DeVito playing tonsil hockey with the bikini-clad Posey is an image you'll want to quickly forget.
Furthermore, other than having a super-pimpin' water slide in his backyard, the film never really provides us with a reason why Priscilla would fall in love with Wayne.
Rudd's character is even more confusing; we can't figure out if we hate him he's hopelessly insensitive to Priscilla and has an affair with one of his high school students (Mischa Barton) or feel sorry for him, since he still loves Priscilla but has lost her to Wayne's affections. Rudd doesn't seem to know either.
Posey is her usual delightful self, particularly her schoolgirl-like embarrassment and giggling hysteria as she attempts to masturbate for the first time.
It's refreshing to see an indie that's a comedy as opposed to the feel-bad flick of the week, and there are some truly funny laugh-out-loud moments. But OH, directed by Billy Kent, seems to be trying too hard to be an insta-cult classic. A scene where Posey orgasms in the middle of a business meeting is meant to be outrageous but just ends up ridiculous; then there's an over-the-top cameo from Liza Minnelli (in a sparkly pink muu-muu, no less) that's essentially lifted straight from Fried Green Tomatoes, and goofy one-liners like "My cock is jammin!" and "Shit, I'm involved in a love triangle with a younger, thinner rival."
And just when things start getting interesting, the film just ... stops. It's as though Kent and screenwriter Adam Wierzbianski simply ran out of steam and fresh ideas and decided to stop production one day and wrap. The grand call to sexual liberation and true love winds up being entirely too ... anticlimactic.
Showing at the Main Art Theatre (118 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-263-2111).
Sarah Klein is Metro Times culture editor. Send comments to [email protected].