Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask Reviews
It's all very silly, and absurd, and some of it is quite dated, but overall, this is a lesser Allen work, but still rather amusing at times.
Sometimes the humor feels more like Mel Brooks than Allen, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Several of the shorts seem to be a genre or style parody, and that was fine with me. For example, a segment on aphrodisiacs is done as a medieval/Shakespeare farce. There's a segment that is a take on Italian art films, a game show spoof, and, the two funniest and best bits are a monster movie riff, and a NASA/mission control satire respectively.
In the monster movie one, we get a giant breast on the loose (parody of the blob), and in the mission control short, it concerns a man's internal organs functioning as a mission control command center relaying various messages to parts of the body in preparation for sex. This segment features Burt Reynolds of all people as a switchboard operator, and Allen as a sperm having second thoughts about his mission, which is portrayed as a group of paratroopers preparing to jump. That is ridiculously wacky and absurd, but absolutely hilarious. I dug the Italian art film homage as well.
Some of the short are kinda blah, and some of this is really dated and rather tame in comparison to some of the stuff we get in today's films and television, but at least the segments are all pretty short with the next one just around the corner.
All in all, this film is kinda dumb, and lesser Woody, but I was amused just enough to feel comfortable giving it a very slight recommendation.
That being said, I probably should go on and review the Woody Allen film; one I remembered as being hilarious but haven't seen in over 30 years. Is this still as funny now as I thought it was then? A resounding yes, and oddly, while some of the over the top aspects made me smile, it was some of the small, throwaway lines, or the mannerisms that gave me belly laughs at my advanced age.
For the unfamiliar, EYAWTKAS was a book published circa 1970. A bestseller and really about the first time that sex in all its variations and deviations was publically talked about (you have to recall that the sexual revolution brought on by the free love movement of the hippies was only a couple of years old - and the x rated film was in its infancy at that time). So, you have a best selling book all about sex, sexual taboos and misconceptions - who would have the nerve to create a parody lightly poking fun at the entire enterprise, other than Woody Allen. This period was the zany Allen of Sleepers and What's New Pussycat, not the later more polished filmmaker of Annie Hall onward.
Allen uses the book's framework to frolic and just plain have some fun. The jokes are abundant, the skits hilarious for the most part, and overall you have to admit that you enjoyed the ride. From the initial medieval skit where Allen plays a court fool trying for a tryst with the queen (who wears a chastity belt), through a skit where Allen's wife can only be turned on by sex in public (filmed as ultra suave Italian, with funny sub titles), to the hilarious final skit with Tony Randall as the commander of the brain, preparing the body for sexual intercourse, there is brilliance and belly laughs galore. Along the way you have hilarious performances, like John Carradines' lovely self parody of a mad scientist, or Gene Wilder going all gaga eyed over a sheep (seeing a sheep wearing a garter belt still makes me giggle). There's a black and white parody of the old TV show "What's My Line" called "What's My Perversion" where a panel, including a young Regis Philbin tries to guess a contestant's perversion; which includes a commercial for some hair gel product with two manly men in a locker room - as the product proudly stands in foreground at the commercials end you see the two men go for a grope.
The filmmaking itself may appear a bit dated, but the humor, is timeless, even while occasionally corny (but funny regardless, as when the Queen falls back unto the bed, trapping Allen's fool beneath her. When the king pulls aside the queens' robes to find Allen he glibly says "well you told me if I was ever in town to look up your wife" bada boom!)
If you can't laugh at Allen playing a nervous sperm wondering if it's not masturbation and he'll end up on the ceiling or something, then you need to check and see if you have a pulse. I've seen these skit style films attempted many a time more recently, and none come close to this as far as just plain fun.
At its most basic, EB is a parody of the common questions asked about sex, relationships and overall ethics. A single question is discussed in one sketch, and it is then followed by another. These questions range from being about orgasm problems to sodomy, so there's much to take. So yes, it is a sketch show. And as with any sketch show, the quality of each one is inconsistent. There are seven of them in total, which both differ in style and type of humor. Some of them are darkly humorous (the sodomy one is this reviewer's favorite for that reason) while some are on the more silly side, specifically the very ambitious final act.
It really is the simplicity of the film that is its biggest flaw. The short nature of each sketch leads to the actors not being able to fully express themselves. Gene Wilder is wonderful as a sheep-loving doctor, and Woody Allen can always make his personae work. They just don't get enough screentime. EB is an entertaining, often hilarious film but lacks a key element to make it truly great: consistency. It's therefore a worthwhile, but not so memorable comedy experience.
I liked this segment. Allen as a fool trying to do stand up comedy before the medieval court is ready to hear his jokes was funny. The slapstick and verbal jabs were enjoyable.
Uncomfortable! A much longer dramatic story greatly condensed. At times made me laugh a little, but this was as I turned my head and tried to cover my eyes.
Copying an Italian Art picture. Wow, never seen Woody Allen play this cool Italian sort of character, he can play something besides the nebish neurotic New Yorker. It is funny that Americans have always been more accepting of sexual themes in foreign films, as long as we can't understand the words, Europe can talk about or show us anything.
Actually the guy is a crossdresser, not a transvestite. This one was not very funny.
A fake TV gameshow with a young Regis Philbin as one of the guest celebrity panelists. I didn't understand the rules of the game cause I don't think it was developed enough. Again not very funny.
A science fiction B-movie. Complete with man and woman strangers meeting and by coincidence having the same destination, a creepy old mansion run by a mad scientist with humped back servant, the mad scientist's laboratory going haywire allowing a giant monster experiment to escape, and the man and woman turned heroes finding hick sheriff and working together to capture the rampaging killer experiment. Now, the scientist is researching sex and the escaped monster experiment is a single giant boob! There are so many BAD jokes and the milk is gross! Still I laughed a few times in spite of myself when I wasn't cringing.
I don't have any desire to see Eddie Murphy's Meet Dave. This is much funnier especially since it deals with the male body in preparation for having sex. Tony Randall, Burt Reynolds, and many others work the brain control room sending out orders for different body parts to respond when necessary. Hilarious!! The short circuit, the pleasure center, the priest tying up the conscience and making guilt keep the gears in the erection room from working properly, and of course all the sperm getting ready to "fertilize an ovum or die trying" is genius. Woody Allen as the one sperm who is afraid and doubting his purpose in life is worth seeing.
1. Do Aphrodisiacs Work?
Set back in Shakesperian days, this one asks if potions (medieval roofies) work. Kind of. The skit is pretty cheesy and tries hard. Does have a fitting score though.
2. What Is Sodomy?
Maybe the most personal to the original author Dr. Ruben, this ones about a love triangle between Armenian Borat, a Doctor, and a goat. The humor doesn't really get any better here.
3. Why Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching an Orgasm?
Definitely caught the Fellini homage in this one, but once again the humor just doesn't do it for me yet. This scene is well made, and actually could be decent as a feature European drama, but weak for a comedy.
4. Are Transvestites Homosexuals?
The first section where I began laughing, and I did not stop after. The answer is No, just socially inept.
5. What Are Sex Perverts?
By far the most creative and my personal favorite. Set in a 1950s game show, this skit is really well made and funny. The part with the Rabbi was absolutely hilarious.
6. Are the Findings of Doctors and Clinics Who Do Sexual Research and Experiments Accurate?
Most famous scene, perhaps an homage to The Blob (not sure as I haven't seen it). But it's about a giant tit (size X) created by Freud meets Frankenstein causing havoc in a town.
7. What Happens During Ejaculation?
Good ending, taught me a lot about the anatomy of a man. Thanks Dr.Allen
Next up Bananas