Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/31/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"SEX, POLITICS & COCKTAILS is another version of the 30s-something relationship avoiders trying to master the art of partner browsing, 'looking for love in all the wrong places'. This little shoestring film seems more like a standup comedian gig with visuals than a movie. That may be due to the fact that the writer and director and producer and star are all one person - Julien Hernandez. While Hernandez has a charm and adequate charisma to make this theme work, his film could have benfited from outsourcing the roles other than actor and make a little movie that would have seemed more entertaining and less self indulgent.
Screenwriter Sebastien (Julien Hernandez) has turned 30 and has yet to have a significant relationship - or employment. When a film project is offered to him, despite the fact that the subject matter is a study of gay relationships, Sebastien pleads for the job and then turns to his best friend Daria (Marisa Petroro) who is constantly surrounded by gay friends to introduce him to the gay life (Sebastien has been living a straight life). What follows is an endless set of encounters with gay men in interviews, in acting out, and in demonstrating just what makes various gay relationships work and not work. Sebastien is drawn to the crowd as they are drawn to him and begins to feel the gravity pull towards the men, one of whom is a wealthy African American male Billy (Lonnie Henderson) who dispels all of Sebastien's prejudices. The characters we meet in this survey are for the most part stereotypically flat and some of the 'controversial' parts, such as Sebastien's first encounter with a solo night of video porn and a banana fugue, go on too long to remain funny.
Julien Hernandez is a talented guy on the screen with a big dollop of charisma and natural charm. The one standout actor is Marisa Petroro who has a fine screen presence and saves the film in every scene in which she is featured. The problem with SEX, POLITICS & COCKTAILS lies in the direction and the decisions to employ too many camera tricks, flashbacks, stills on moving shots, and captions that only serve to slow the film down and reveal a degree of self indulgence. Others such as Woody Allen are capable of combining all the roles that Hernandez takes on but manage to keep the resulting work focused. But then this is Hernandez first outing and despite the overall weakness of this effort, he does give notice of a man with talent: he just needs a good director! Grady Harp, October 05"
J. Whitney | New York | 04/08/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I may have to request my money back from Blockbuster after renting this trite and boring documovie. Except for Paul Lekakis none of the cast is appealing and this is suppposed to be WeHo which is full of attractive people, however, none of them auditioned for this film. Very low budget and the story is riddled with cliches. Don't waste your time or money."
SIENFELD GANG MEETS THE MALE BRIDGET JONES!
Mike Varron | New York | 08/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Very witty! Enormously funny! and Hot! Hot! Hot! My bo and I found this film to be creatively and unconventionally put together with its' vibe editing. I personally enjoyed that - artistically - I can see the average Joe - may have an opposing opinion. We went with a group of our friends in NY to see it at the Village - people were laughing so much we missed a lot hence we pre order it. The ending had a touching optimistic message that gave my most jaded friend some hope - Clive loved the 7 ft penis's and the hilarious the three way. I personally love the penis make over bit. It was original and side-splitting! We recommend to those who have a great sense of humor - and are not too jaded by the single life. I am ordering an extra one for my recently single sister who is in a funk from a break up. This will definately lift her spirits."
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 01/19/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
""SEX, POLITICS & COCKTAILS" Nice Try
Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride
"Sex, Politics & Cocktails" could have been a great movie but somewhere along the way to the box-office and in the editing room. There are some good performances but for some reason the movie seemed to go on and on and on. Sebastian Cortez, a filmmaker suddenly finds himself too old and incapable of love. He embarks on a quest to find the right person for him and asks his friend Darla, a tour guide to help him. She, in turn, introduces him to several of her gay friends and Sebastian goes on the ride of his life. Sebastian is a willing student and learns all kinds of new things--how to have the most powerful climax, how-to have a three way what is a penis makeover. He is forced to navigate through a Hollywood e does not know and becomes involved in sexual politics, Is he gay or is he bi or is he a straight guy experimenting? Can a girl turn a straight guy into a gay guy? Is this his true behavior or are the margaritas he drinks doing the talking for him? These are the very important questions that will be answered in the film. It is funny, it is acerbic and it is about the universal search for finding a mate. Thus is a comedy for all regardless of sexual identity. Did I contradict myself? No I don't think I did. All the good stuff is there and some parts of the movie are very good but what is bad should have been cut. Unfortunately if that had happened we would have only had a half hour film. What is bad is awful and what is good is brilliant. Julian Hernandez as Sebastian is attractive and a likeable enough character. He carries the whole film but that is because with the exception of two other characters no one in this movie can really act. When he gets involved in making a gay documentary, he begins to come out which takes way too long. He could have done it in 15 minutes instead of a little more than 85. This is the main problem--there is so much padding and because of that we miss the love story Yet when he does find hi partner, all the bad parts of the movie seem to fade away. When they kiss, we forget all of the minor useless characters and their bad lots in life. I really wanted to like this film, I saw such potential here but the sum of its parts just did not make a whole. "S, P & C" is just another of those movies about 30 year olds who avoid relationships. There is not a whole lot new--some of the gags are funny but we have seen the al before under different guises. There were too many camera tricks that did not work, too many flashbacks. A genius could have made something of the film but an amateur like Hernandez seemed lost. Now one of the good points is that you will laugh and laugh some more. It does give some insight into gay life and the film is light. But lightness and a few good jokes do not make a good film necessarily. Yet I do see great promise and when Hernandez settles down and decides to find a real script, I think we will all have a treat. "
"Guppies" may appreciate the satire, but otherwise blah
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 09/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Sebastian is a 30 year old who has broken up with his girlfriend and moved cross country to Hollywood, hoping to become a filmmaker. When he gets an assignment to do a documentary on gay relationships, he realizes he doesn't know any gay people, so he asks his friend Daria, a soap opera actress, for help. She sets up a gettogether for Sebastian with lots of her gay male friends.
Got the ending figured out yet? I'll give you an extra 10 seconds ... Got it? And what did you do with the extra time you had left over? :)
"Sex, Politics & Cocktails" (2002) is laughably predictable, actually amateurish on many levels, not surprising since it comes from a first time writer/director, who also happens to be the producer, editor and star (as Sebastian), Julien Hernandez. The pacing is choppy and confusing, with the use of still photos used to tell parts of the story on which there obviously was no film shot. It's also told faux-documentary style in part, with reminders of the time and camera commands (fast forward, etc.) appearing on the screen.
In a nutshell, the film looks at the difficulties faced by single 30 year olds, gay or straight, looking for a relationship (one based on more than sex) in modern day Los Angeles. Actually, urban gay men will likely find the satirical glimpses of speed dating, pretentious parties, and assorted "dates from hell" to be rather amusing, as I did, but there is not much else to look forward to here. Straight viewers, and most gay men, will be bored silly. About the only actor who stood out was Marisa Petroro (Daria), not surprising since it appears she is the only one in a cast to have any significant screen credits. The only name I recognize is Paul Lekakis ("Circuit") who has a small role as one character's date. Some outtakes run over the ending credits, and the DVD extras include some chatter with the writer/director/producer/editor/star and others."