29th Nov2019

’30 Nights (of Sex to Save Your Marriage)’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Johnny Giacalone, Mandy Kaplan, Dan Fogler, Alyssa Brayboy, Chris Butler, Lyric Lewis, Melody Peng | Written by Tom Metz III, Johnny Giacalone, Mandy Kaplan | Directed by Tom Metz III

30-nights-poster

30 Nights (of Sex to Save Your Marriage) tells the story of Willa and Nick who, in a last ditch effort to save their marriage, visit a renowned, yet eccentric, couples therapist and embark on a month-long journey of provocative and hilarious sex assignments.

A sex comedy? In this day and age of outrage culture and political correctness? They’ve said you couldn’t make American Pie in this day and age and some would say you couldn’t make this kind of film today. But producer, co-writer and co-star Mandy Kaplan did and the result is actually a remarkably refreshing look at married life, something akin to Judd Apatow’s This is 40 (the target audience is definitely the same for example) but with more of the near-the-knuckle, yet warm-hearted, humour found in Apatow’s earlier work.

30 Nights doesn’t get off to a great start though. It opens very much like every other indie comedy-drama: focusing on a couple whose marriage is seemingly on the rocks. That part of the story, which is undoubtedly the most honest part of the film, suffers from being somewhat of a total downer – it’s also remarkably stupid, as both husband and wife try to avoid martial coitus in the daftest ways possible… And the stupidty doesn’t really marry (pardon the pun) up to the more downbeat aspect of that initial introduction to this story.

However that’s actually a sign of things to come as 30 Nights takes a massive turn into the absurd – in a VERY good way – when our struggling couple, Willa and Nick, visit sex therapist Lance Ying… played in fine form by one of my favourite, if underrated, actors working today: Dan Fogler. It’s here that the titular thirty nights begin and the film descends into hilarity, as Willa and Nick go through nightly steps to save their marriage. Steps which include bizarre sex acts, re-enacting each others fantasies, pushing their individual boundaries – be they sexual or emotiuonal and more. And no subject is left unexplored: watersports, pegging, public exhibitionism… this couple do everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING to keep their marriage together and follow Dr. Ying’s book to the proverbial letter.

Kudos to co-stars Mandy Kaplan and Johnny Giacalone, as Willa and Nick respectively, both actors seemingly abandon any inhibitations they have in their roles as the married couple on the edge. Their openness to their respective roles and their dedication to their performances means that you truly believe their characters embarassments, their failures and, ultimately, their re-dedication to each other and their marriage. The duo are not only open to the more “extreme” aspects of their characters nightly tasks but it also feels like they’re open to showing the audience their vulnerabilites as well. And 30 Nights shows us all those aspects too, almost as if to balance out the raunchy nature of the film with a more heartfelt, real, emotional core.

That we see the emotional toll that Willa and Nick’s marriage has taken and then follow the emotional, and hilarious, battle they undertake to save it, means that the audience can’t help but root for the couple and empathise with their situation. Which means the audience is also guaranteed to stick with this film right through to the end – everyone will truly want to see Willa and Nick succeed at their thirty-night tasks and come together (pun intended) as a family one more. Which makes 30 Nights (of Sex to Save Your Marriage) a winner in anyone’s book!

****½  4.5/5

The very definition of an indie film gem, 30 Nights (of Sex to Save Your Marriage) ia available on Amazon Prime now.

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