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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The OH in Ohio
The OH in Ohio
HBO // R // December 5, 2006
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted December 3, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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In 10 Words or Less
Better loving through technology

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Good indie films
Likes: Paul Rudd, Parker Posey, taboo topics
Dislikes:
Hates: Society's acceptance of faux lesbianism

The Movie
Frequently, if a woman doesn't reach the promise land in bed, she gets the blame for being frigid or uptight, normally to save the ego of her partner. Occasionally, the fault really does lie with the woman though, as is the case with Priscilla Chase (Parker Posey). After 10 years of marriage to Jack (Paul Rudd) and over 1,400 attempts (she's kept count), she's yet to have a standing O. Accepting that something is wrong with her, she seeks assistance in attaining sexual nirvana.

If she was looking for assistance, Priscilla has plenty of experts to help her. A self-pleasuring seminar with a delightfully over-the-top Liza Minelli is an enjoyable diversion, but Priscilla's salvation lies in a adult shop staffed by the ever-adorable Heather Graham. Like a kid with a new toy, Priscilla becomes infatuated with her new toy, much to Jack's chagrin, sending him into the welcoming arms of one of his high-school students (a confidently seductive Mischa Barton.)

Priscilla's growing obsession with being a solo artist and Jack's spiraling descent into loneliness dominate the rest of the film, which is frequently funny, including one hilarious scene in which Jack confesses his indiscretions to a fellow teacher (Keith David). There are some lapses in judgement on the filmmakers' part, like an unnecessary side trip into crude slapstick centered around some vibrating panties, but for the most part, the movie delivers the parallel stories of Priscilla and Jack with the right amount of humor and emotion.

Then, everything changes, and what was an enjoyable sex comedy becomes a quasi-love story, inserting Wayne the Pool Guy (an off-type Danny DeVito) into the equation. Played with an entirely different tone than the rest of the film, the final third of the film could be a short film all on its own, and a pretty good one at that, as DeVito does a good job of expressing his character's personality and making him worth watching. Unfortunately, this plot just doesn't fit with the rest of the story, and leaves the characters without much of a resolution.

As the suffering husband, Rudd proves he plays everyman with the best of them, and shows a unique ability (seen previously in Clueless) to make even the most ridiculous line of dialogue work. Posey, who gets placed in much more insane situations, keeps her character on an even keel, which sells the out-there nature of the plot. Meanwhile, the supporting cast has a lot going for it, especially in David and Minelli. Barton doesn't get a lot to do besides look very hot, and she does that well.

This is director Billy Kent's first feature film, after a prolific career as a commercial and short-film director, but the film doesn't have the now-traditional marks of those mediums, such as camera acrobatics and editing ADHD. Instead, Kent composes his frames quite well, using specific angles, lighting and perspectives to make his characters the focus of a scene, inside a detail filled-frame. Some of the shots in the sex shop, in Priscilla's bedroom and in the school pool would work beautifully as paintings, thanks to the composition and color. Kent doesn't overwhelm the viewer, and instead pulls them in to the story's world. He's one to watch when it comes to character-driven comedies.

The DVD
Packed in a standard keepcase (which disappointingly ditched the film's iconic poster art for big-head photos of stars), with an insert that list chapter stops, this one-disc release features an animated anamorphic widescreen main menu with options to watch the film, select scenes, adjust languages and check out the special features. There are no audio options, but subtitles are available in English, Spanish and French, along with English closed captioning.

The Quality
The anamorphic widescreen transfer on this DVD is very clean, without any noticeable dirt or damage, and no visible digital artifacts. The image is very crisp, and though the color can be a bit dull in spots, its good for the most part. There's nothing to really complain about here.

The audio is presented as a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, which means there's not a lot to say about it, except that the mix is very clean, with well-defined music and dialogue, and there's no distortion. The music used in the film is nice and strong, and some minor audio effects, like muffled off-screen voices, are reproduced well.

The Extras
A selection of seven deleted or alternate scenes are included, in workprint format, but unfortunately without context and without a play-all option. Included among these scenes are an alternate opening, complete with different titles, and an alternate ending. Some explanation as to why they were removed would have been nice, but you're left to guess instead.

The Bottom Line
The main attraction here is the unusual and somewhat taboo subject matter, but once you get past that, there's a pretty good comedy about what sex means to a person and how it can define us. At least, there's a comedy for two-thirds of the film, before a love story shows up and hijacks the proceedings. If that story wasn't done so well, there'd be more reason to be unhappy about it, but as it stands, there's basically two stories in search of an ending, and a few very good actors enjoying the writing. The DVD presentation is solid, though the lack of a surround track is disappointing, while the extras are limited. Fans of unique films with a good sense of humor should make themselves feel good with a rental.


Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or follow him on Twitter


*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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