Woody Allen, John Carradine, Lou Jacobi, Louise Lasser, Anthony Quayle, Tony Randall, Lynn Redgrave, Burt Reynolds, Gene Wilder
Woody Allen, based on the book by David Reuben
English Digital Mono
Spanish Digital Mono
Runtime: 88 min.
Release Date: 7/5/2000
• Collectible Booklet
• Theatrical Trailer
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.
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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (1972)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson
Some books lend themselves easily to film adaptations, and some don't. I
never read it myself - I was far too young during its early-Seventies
heyday - but I'd guess that Everything You Always Wanted to Know About
Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask fell into the second category. Dr. David
Reuben's famous text was a huge hit a few decades back, but it seems odd
that they'd want to make a movie of it. After all, those Men Are From
Mars, Women Are From Venus books sell well, but they probably wouldn't
make very good films.
Despite the text's lack of plot or characters, the powers-that-be decided to
make a movie version of it, but they took an unusual approach; instead of a
documentary - which would seem logical - the book became a comedic anthology
written and directed by Woody Allen.
I wish I could state that this was an inspired move, but for the most part,
the concept falls flat. I enjoyed two of the sketches: the phony game show
of "What's My Perversion?" and the mock horror film in "Are Findings
Correct?" The latter is clearly the movie's highlight as Allen and a nubile
young blonde encounter a crazed sex researcher. As played by John
Carradine, Doctor Bernardo is an absolute riot; Carradine plays up the Dr.
Frankenstein-styled character for all he's worth, and the segment provides
the picture's most clever material and its best laughs. (One note about
the titles I use for sketches: they don't fully agree with the names
utilized in the film itself, as I chose to feature the abbreviations listed
in the DVD's booklet.)
"WMP?" is a bit more scatter-shot, mainly because it contains some of the
film's most potentially-offensive material; the piece comes uncomfortably
close to trying to mine laughs from rape and child abuse. Despite those
serious miscues, the rest of the skit works well, mainly because it never
plays the form for laughs; they whole thing is done so straight-faced that
it generally succeeds. I'd be better able to endorse it without a couple of
the more tasteless lines, but I still thought it was one of the better parts
of the movie.
Other than that, I didn't think much of Everything.... During the
"Reaching An Orgasm" segment, I found Allen's hipster Italian appearance
amusing, but the piece itself was nothing special. The ending skit -
"Ejaculation" - had potential, and apparently it works better if you've read
the book, but the ultimate result is moderately clever but generally
Overall, Everything... feels like an aberration in the Allen canon.
It offers a few decent laughs but usually seems flat and uninspired.
Although Allen's humor often involved sex, this piece appears unusually
smutty and seedy at times, and it doesn't live up to his standards.
The DVD Grades: Picture C- / Audio C+ / Bonus D-
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to
Ask appears in both its original theatrical aspect ratio of
approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen edition on this double-sided,
single-layered DVD; the letterboxed image has been enhanced for 16X9
televisions. Only the widescreen side was rated for this review. The movie
offers a very erratic picture that varied from pretty nice to fairly bad
Sharpness seems generally good, with most of the film appearing adequately
defined and accurate. Moiré effects are a periodic concern, and I also
noticed occasional artifacts from the anamorphic downconversion on my 4X3
TV. The print betrays a high number of flaws. The movie often showed mild
to moderate grain, and a variety of other problems - white speckles, black
grit, scratches, streaks and blotches - also appear. Some segments fare
better than others - "Are Findings Correct?" looks most free of faults
because so much of it is dimly-lit - but every sketch in this movie shows
some pretty significant concerns.
Colors are acceptably accurate but they look mildly faded and pale, with
virtually no instances of bright, bold hues. Black levels are pretty
decent, as they show fairly deep tones, but shadow detail was an issue,
especially during the "Aphrodisiacs" and "Sodomy" segments; they displayed
rather opaque tones that often made much of the image somewhat impenetrable.
Surprisingly, shadow detail during "Findings" seems very appropriate, and
that scene offers the most attractive interiors found in the film; other
indoors shots are much more bland and flat. Overall, enough of
Everything... looks decent to warrant a "C-", but it's generally a
pretty unappealing picture.
One note about the image: the "What's My Perversion?" segment is shot so
that it resembles a black and white TV broadcast. Since it is supposed to
look bad, I didn't factor it into my grade. I think I noticed flaws that
shouldn't have appeared - scratches and grain, mostly - but since the
original picture clearly was intentionally weak, I didn't think it was fair
to downgrade the whole movie because of its concerns.
The monaural soundtrack of Everything... seems fairly typical of
audio from the era, though it appears moderately clearer than most.
Dialogue sounds flat and thin but is acceptably crisp and intelligible, with
no serious concerns. Effects are also a bit wan, but they appeared
relatively realistic, and I even detected a nice little mild bass tone
attached to the giant tit in "Findings". The music doesn't seem as bright
and dynamic as that of Bananas, but it appears reasonably crisp and lively. Ultimately,
this is a mono soundtrack from the Seventies, and it does little to rise
above those origins. Nonetheless, it seems more than adequate based on its
Less satisfying are the DVD's supplements, which consist solely of a decent
theatrical trailer and some very good production notes in the booklet. The
latter offer a nice view of how the film relates to the book, plus they
discuss an omitted scene. Sure would have been fun to see those outtakes on
the DVD, but since Allen apparently dislikes extras, that didn't happen.
Although it has a few good moments, Everything You Always Wanted to Know
About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask remains one of Woody Allen's lesser
efforts. It's an odd adaptation from an unlikely source, and the whole
project never quite gels. The DVD also seems pretty mediocre, with fairly
bland picture and sound and almost no supplemental features. This one's
best left for the Allen completists.
Viewer Film Ratings: 3.92 Stars|| Number of Votes: 25|