When thinking of Canadians, the stereotype that lingers in the minds of most people is that of an overly polite person. An Awkward Sexual Adventure, which jumps from the frigid prairie of Winnipeg to the bustling metropolis of Toronto, fulfills that stereotype thoroughly. It’s so concerned with manners that it never gets a chance to have any fun. “Outrageous” or “crazy” are not words it wants you to use as a description.
Much like its accountant protagonist (Jonas Chernik), the film is so clinical about sexuality that it ends up overcompensating by trying way too hard with broad comedy. It also has a huge identity crisis. Afraid to come across as too crass, it drops its original Ladies’ Man Teaches Dweeb How to Be Good at Sex early on, only to have the mentor role switch to a stripper with a heart of gold (Emily Hampshire). If all this makes it seem like it’s ripping off a lot of films, that’s because it is.
The stripper and the accountant meet cute in the back-alley of a Toronto strip club—OK, so maybe “cute” isn’t the right word—and come (no pun intended) to an arrangement: He’ll help her get her finances in order and she’ll teach him everything about sex beyond the missionary position. It’s as if Dave Ramsey and Sasha Grey starred in The Sessions (but that movie sounds much more fascinating than this mediocrity).
Not content to take this movie straight to its natural conclusion, the film brings back the accountant’s jealous ex (Sarah Manninen) just to complicate the budding romance and extend the film’s running time. Even when the sex scenes are more graphic than what we Americans are used to in a romantic comedy, the film takes such a “Gee Willikers” approach to sexuality that makes it even easier to dismiss it as a pointless trifle.
Still, that approach makes it impossible to hate. Unlike, say, this year’s Hannah Has a Ho Phase, this movie didn’t make me want to throw something at the screen. Like the unsatisfied girlfriend at the beginning of the film, it just lies there, waiting for things to get interesting.