Film Review: 'Now and Later'
The "clumsy drama" by writer-director Philippe Diaz ("The End of Poverty?") opens in New York Friday and L.A. a week later as part of the series "Unrated: A Week of Sex in Cinema."
The only believable parts of the clumsy drama Now and Later are the unsimulated sex scenes. Its hard-to-buy plot, bringing together an anti-materialist Afro-Latina and a WASP who’s a lapsed investment banker, is a flimsy excuse for a series of political lectures badly disguised as dialogue, but mainly for the heavy-breathing sequences that cap the lessons. It opens Feb. 18 in New York and a week later in Los Angeles as part of the series “Unrated: A Week of Sex in Cinema.”
Writer-director Philippe Diaz (The End of Poverty?) captures a docu feel in downtown L.A. locations, but otherwise the film is an ultra-schematic scenario alternating left-wing yak and conventional soft-core porn. Its sense of self-importance is clear from the theme-defining William Reich quote, on the deleterious effects of sexual repression, that opens the story. Later, “Research shows that lack of sex ...” begins one tantalizing morsel of postcoital chitchat.
Its two stiltingly played lead characters are meant to be a sort of living liberation manual: She’s Professor Now, present in the moment, and he’s Student Later, planning for the great American retirement. His ignorance is mind-boggling, her all-knowingness pure and true. Her given name is Angela (Shari Solanis), and she’s an existentialist angel of free sex and social consciousness, with the added cred of being from a salt-of-the-earth family, among them victims of the Contras and, therefore U.S. imperialist policy.
Her temporary roomie, Bill (James Wortham), is awaiting the truck that will smuggle him out of the country, rather than go to jail for his role in banking-industry shenanigans.In the meantime, he gets to be turned on and enlightened in Angela’s walkup apartment. Its rooftop access comes in handy for some al fresco action but also provides a nifty vantage point for looking down upon the socioeconomic disparities of the city. To paraphrase the title of a book by Deena Metzger, this might be called The Woman Who Slept With Men to Take the Republican Out of Them.