OH Hum

Washington City Paper | August 4, 2006
It’s nearly impossible to avoid metaphoric criticism of a movie about orgasms, so let’s get it out of the way: Billy Kent’s directorial debut, The OH in Ohio, gets thisclose but doesn’t completely satisfy. Quirk queen Parker Posey is Priscilla, a Cleveland ad exec who is married to Jack (Paul Rudd), a high-school science teacher. Jack is haggard, moody, and not-so-slyly drinking on the job, all because although the couple has had sex 1,482 times (Priscilla tends to count things), his wife has never had an orgasm, even by herself. Jack loses it and leaves her (i.e., moves out to the garage), which finally makes Priscilla determined to fix things. One masturbation class (with the teacher, played by Liza Minnelli, saying things like “liberate your labia!”) and vibrator later, Priscilla is enlightened and addicted—naturally, it changes her life. Meanwhile, Jack is rescued by Kristen (Mischa Barton), one of his stoner–turned–National Merit Scholar (!) students who ridiculously tunes in to his exact problem: “You’re in pain. I want to help,” she says. The debut script by Adam Wierzbianski (based on a story by Kent and Sarah Bird) has its funnier moments amplified by the cast, particularly Rudd, who first uses his talent for perfect deadpan and later yells out “My cock’s jammin’! It’s jammin’!” when his character is rejuvenated. Also entertaining is Keith David as Jack’s “technology”-loving confidant and Danny DeVito as Wayne, a carefree, longhaired swimming-pool entrepreneur. It’s a bit odd to see the usually typecast Posey playing a rather normal, if (f)rigid, woman, but her Priscilla is giddy and charming as she makes the transformation into a labia liberator. Cleveland natives will be happy to see their city portrayed as having risen above its mistake-on-the-lake status, with several aerial shots of a dense downtown and an outright marketing pitch slickly incorporated as Priscilla tries to woo a large corporation to do business there. The movie sinks, though, whenever Barton’s on-screen, between her shallowly drawn Magical Whore and flat delivery of lines that alone are Wierzbianski’s worst. (“I know Playboy Advisor bullshit,” she says in a forced tantrum.) And even at 88 minutes, The OH in Ohio just goes on too long. Pre-vibrator Priscilla would sympathize.

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