June 3, 2023

Lust and laughter are scarce in ‘The End of Sex’, a curiously traditional comedy in which a bored married couple tries to revive their sex life.

Directed by Sean Garrity, the film looks at a common dilemma: How do you keep it spicy in the bedroom when years of cozy domesticity have spoiled the mood?

It’s hard to shift gears and throw yourself into passionate lovemaking, says Garrity, when you’re in your pajamas cleaning up your kids’ scattered toys. True, but in “The End of Sex,” parenthood seems to turn adults into babbling adolescents who blush and freeze at sexual opportunities. This dynamic should be chillingly funny, but over the course of an hour and a half, this staid farce proves otherwise.

Emma (Emily Hampshire) and Josh (Jonas Chernick), two painfully square over-40s, are given a week’s respite from their parenting duties when their daughters go to sleepover camp. Emma in particular is desperate to rekindle the flame; she’s in love with her husband, but sleeping with Marlon (Gray Powell), an old art school friend not known for his subtlety, proves increasingly seductive.

“My Awkward Sexual Adventure”, the title of an earlier film by Garrity, also chronicles the events of this one: Emma and Josh try to have a threesome with Emma’s co-worker Wendy (Melanie Scrofano), join a swingers club where geriatric men roam around in bondage clothes and animal masks and take party drugs to fuel their libido. Of course, they all fail, as Emma and Josh are astonishingly immature, a quality accentuated by the movie’s scintillating comedic style.

Lily Gao, who plays Kelly, Josh’s younger, more sexually experienced co-worker – as well as his confidante – deals with her own sexual issues that prove to be more compelling than those of her married counterparts. This speaks to what makes the central conflict so dull and vanilla, as if the challenges of monogamy were only about the inevitable friction between love and good sex.

The end of sex
Rated R for clothed sex scenes and party drugs. Running time: 1 hour 27 minutes. In theatres.