Director: Jeremy Lalonde
Writer: Jeremy Lalonde
Actors: Paul Amos, Shannon Beckner, Katie Boland, Kristin Booth, Jay Brazeau, Amanda Brugel, Ennis Esmer, Kate Hewlett, Kris Holden-Ried
Runtime: 105 min
It is impossible to please everybody with a single film. With this fact in mind, some directors choose to incorporate several stories into their works in order to increase the chances of one resonating. Director Jeremy Lalonde’s second feature, Sex After Kids, tells five very different yet interrelated stories, so a viewer is bound to find one with which they can relate. This film may have its flaws, but it also has some very funny moments, many warm and likable characters, an important message, and a big heart.
Sex After Kids tells the story of five couples who struggle with their relationships, both in and out of bed, after becoming parents. Although the gimmick is that sex itself – or the lack thereof – is the problem for these people, the difficulties that these couples face actually go much deeper. There is the couple that has not been intimate in a year because Mom is always exhausted, the man who does not find his model-thin-no-longer wife attractive, the lesbian couple that cannot find balance and agree on a parenting strategy, the single parents who aren’t sure what exactly it is they’re looking for, and finally, the older couple that has just given up on a physically intimate relationship. Everybody can see themselves or somebody they know in these characters, who are almost all likeable, full, warm, and, often, quite bumbling.
All of the actors in this predominantly Canadian ensemble cast are strong, and it is enjoyable to watch this parade of home-grown, if little-known, talent. Such a large cast can present a challenge for an inexperienced director to take on, but Lalonde appears to handle it with ease and control, allowing each individual their moment and time to shine. Indeed, the whole work feels ambitious, yet it is held together through interrelationships between the characters and common themes within the storylines. Said storylines are as diverse and engaging as the couples, and a viewer is allowed to feel constantly interested but never overwhelmed.
Although the film is strong overall, a few flaws are present. The filming does appear amateur at times, which can most likely be attributed to a low budget. Once one becomes used to this slightly hoaky, Coronation Street style, however, they should not allow it from getting in the way of the engaging stories and characters. Trying to be edgy, the film does unfortunately show a bit more than necessary once in a while, and there were a few scenes that I was left wishing had been left up to my imagination. This is a film about sex, yes, but it is also about the deeper relationships between individuals, so the approach could have been more sensitive; fortunately, these moments were few and far between.
Clichés may be present, but there can be no doubt that Sex After Kids is a funny movie, offering quite a few genuine laughs, and even a Margaret Atwood joke for Canadian viewers. The film also means well, offering an important message without spiralling into melodrama. This film is only Jeremy Lalonde’s second feature, and with it, he definitely marks himself as a rising director to watch. The talented cast should also be noted, and hopefully it won’t be long before we see them up on the silver screen again.