Sex, sex, sex! Got your attention? Good, because that's more than this pretentious Brit-flick take on 21st century relationships is likely to do - even with its tabloid-baiting dollops of graphic pillow talk, S&M, and naked flesh. Married couple Paul (Paolo Seganti) and Amanda (Gina Bellman) are struggling after seven months of wedlock; fatalistic swingers Danny (Ben Daniels) and Kim (Kristen McMenamy) have a relationship that's on the rocks. How long until boredom leads to sexual experimentation?
Other people's fantasies can sometimes be depressingly banal. That's certainly the case in Married/Unmarried, which struggles through some truly atrocious acting, direction, and dialogue in a clumsy attempt to prove itself worthy of an 'arthouse' tag. Sample exchange: "I have every concept that relationships are fragile, but I also believe in the fragility of love." "And through that love you have no premeditation to be anything other than in the moment with Paul?" Oh boy.
Not even the shock tactics can dispel the boredom: the lashings of kinky sex, full frontal nudity, and smutty monologues are just plain embarrassing. Then there's the pointless riffs on the striking imagery of The Cremaster Cycle, like the man who makes his girlfriend wear a bikini, a tiara, a sash and several layers of makeup then shines torches in her face as she pretends to be a Miss World contestant. Paging Dr Freud, paging Dr Freud.
Who are these ugly people with their fancy clothes, off-the-peg nihilism, and bland fantasies? Perhaps writer-director Noli inhabits a world where they exist, or perhaps s/he just imagined it all. Either way, they're not fun to spend time with, with or without their clothes on. Who'd have thought polymorphous sexual perversion could be so... dull?