The average rating for Sexual Perversity in Chicago and the Duck Variations; Two Plays based on 2 reviews is 2.5 stars.
|Review # 1 was written on 2008-08-22 00:00:00|
I was, for some unknown reason, moved by and sort of obsessed with the film "About Last Night" when I was a kid. For better or worse (probably worse), this flawed but still unique and underrated Brat-Packer film, set in 80's Chicago - shaped my ideas of adult sexuality. The way Demi Moore (flat as an IRONING BOARD in her many nude scenes, by the way) and Rob Lowe (oh-so teen-vampire-hot in this era, even tho in this movie he doesn't wear the little dangly cross earring from "St. Elmo's Fire") fall in love and fuck and fight about Tampax wrappers and HAAAATE each other's best friends (their best friends are played by Elizabeth Perkins and James Belushi, and retrospectively, these characters and performances are still BRILLIANT, the best part of the movie)and break up and get back together - i thought that's how it would really go down when I fell in love. Of course, that's what I thought about "Singles," too. Anyway, so I finally got around to reading the promisingly-titled David Mamet play that "About Last Night" was based on: "Sexual Perversity in Chicago." Now, my issue with the movie was that the main character, Dan and Debbie, aren't REAL enough. They have no sense of humor and anything "zingy" they say - usually remnants from the Mamet play's dialogue - sounds hollow, like Moore and Lowe are ACTING smart, when they're not; they're just empty-headed, goodlooking Brat-Packers. Plus, the movie is really earnest and NOT snarky, it's hopeful: there's like three different relationship montages set to three different Sheena Easton songs. So I was thinking that all the sappy flaws of the movie that stand out to me when I watch it as an adult would be corrected in the Mamet version. I mean, this is David Mamet. His writing is filthy and mean, you know? And the play's characters certainly are strikingly different from their movie counterparts. For instance, Demi Moore's character Debbie, in the movie, has no sense of humor and is kind of a wet blanket. But in the play, she's a castrating bitch just like her best friend Joan. Problem is, in the play she's got personality, but it's not GOOD personality! It's abrasive and makes you dislike her (there's not really anyone to like in the play, while in the movie you like Joan, played by Elizabeth Perkins, and you find Bernie, played by Jim Belushi, funny) So while I was reading this harsh, painfully real, vulgar play, I kept thinking, "I wish this part were more like the movie...." Like, a little more love and a little less "tits!!! ass!!! broads!!" But I guess that's David Mamet for you. And Brat-Packer movies. The grass is always greener....
|Review # 2 was written on 2017-07-14 00:00:00|
I've read two other Mamet works (Oleanna & Glengarry Glen Ross) and thought they were terrific (especially Oleanna). So I was excited to read this book, which contains two plays. The first is an examination of modern relationships, and despite the title, it's not really about sex; although it is framed through modern views about sex and discusses the impact sex has on relationships. The play focuses on four characters: Bernie (a slimy lothario), his friend Dan, Deborah (whom Dan begins dating), and Joan (Deborah's friend). The play consists of a number of short scenes that alternate between the men by themselves and women by themselves discussing modern sex (fetishes, likes & dislikes) and relationships, and scenes tracing Dan's and Deborah's relationship (from meet-up to break-up). Mamet's point about relationships and their difficulty - whether the sex is fetishized or otherwise - is none too subtle. The second play stretches across fourteen short scenes where two old men sit on a park bench. The majority of their conversations revolve around the ducks they are watching, with a subtext of how the duck behaviors also speak to human behaviors (leadership, friendship, death, etc). Overall, I found both plays to be underwhelming, especially given my prior experiences with Mamet's works. There is no subtlety in Mamet's messages, and I felt both plays lacked depth (because of both content and length). This is a pass for me.
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