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Afternoon Delight


Stars: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch, Michaela Watkins, Jessica St Clair

Director: Jill Soloway

Arthouse porn: that is to say, lots of sex, drug-taking, improvised dialogue and cameras so handheld as to send you rushing to the nearest sink. Perhaps the cameraman's hands were extra-shaky at shooting all that rumpy-pumpy.

The plot is similar to those that sold millions of Shannon Tweed videos in the 1990s, with the difference that it focuses solely on the Jewish community of a middle-sized American town, and the aim is probably comedy rather than drama.

Rachel (Hahn) is the restless wife irritated by having only one child while her friends have two or three, hasn't had sex in months and spends (too much) time each week pouring her heart out to a shrink (Lynch), who seems more in need of help than her patient.

Encouraged to visit a 'gentlemen's bar', Rachel becomes intrigued by lap dancer/sex worker McKenna (Temple). When the blonde nymphette becomes homeless, Rachel offers her a room, in return for which the Baby Doll-like McKenna tries to seduce her.

Matters eventually come to a head when Rachel makes the fatal mistake of deciding the girl isn't a suitable babysitter for her friends' children when a hen party is planned, leaving McKenna at home with her poker-playing husband (Radnor) and his friends, with predictably messy results.

The director may have thought she had something to say at the heart of this, but the outcome is tiresome beyond belief. Temple simpers: other performances are suitably raucous.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Premiere. Colour by Light Iron.
96 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 25 Mar 2014