I love a good raunchy sex comedy, but when one tosses in a healthy amount of heart, there is truly a recipe for a memorable flick. Sex Appeal has all the right ingredients for a tasty comedy stew. It provides the viewer with a blanket of simplicity in terms of the narrative, then goes full 90s rom-com by tossing in a highly predictable love angle. Bolstered by female talent both behind the lens (Talia Osteen) and on the page (Tate Hanyok), and a cute-as-pie performance from Mika Abdalla, Sex Appeal really scratched the comfort-watching itch I crave from the often stuffy aura of awards season.
StemCon is fast approaching—the largest mathematics and scientific contest of the year! As this year’s challenge, participants must create a brand-new app to solve a problem they are facing in their daily lives. Avery (Abdalla) has a record-breaking GPA, and is riding high on her early acceptance into MIT. Prom is not on her agenda in the slightest. When tasked with this app creation, Avery is stumped—surely she has no problems, since her future is so thoroughly mapped out in front of her? Her best friend, Larson (Supercool’s Jake Short), longs to take their relationship to the next level, but Avery is suddenly facing sexual pressure from her long-distance boyfriend. The “problem” basically writes itself—Avery is in desperate need of proper sex education.
Avery conceptualizes an app that will aide her in reaching peak sexual gratification. What better way for Avery to learn than to use her overeager bestie, Larson, as an experimental subject? When one of the trials is “dick sucking,” who could say no? Following the movie through Avery’s colorful search for a sexual Mecca, the viewer is brought closer to Avery’s worldview, and surprisingly soft interior. At first, she comes across meticulous and distant, but Larson begins to bring out the best in her. Collecting sources “in advance of losing her virginity,” Avery asks hilarious questions, and eagerly wants to absorb all of the answers.
My favorite directorial flourish here are the brilliant fantasy asides to represent sexual activities. The best of these is probably when we bear witness to Avery’s first-ever orgasm, featuring Larson climbing down into her ‘tunnel.’ The messaging is cute, the lesbian moms kind of steal the show, and the young actors are all flawlessly cast. What more could one desire from a movie titled Sex Appeal? Be sure to stick around for a classically fun blooper reel in true 90s fashion to close things out on a high note during the credits!
Sex Appeal unleashes its sex algorithm when it debuts exclusively on Hulu, Friday, January 14th.