Review: Sex and the U.S.A. DVD

STUDIO: Breaking Glass | DIRECTOR: Jan Wellmann | CAST: Shayla Beesley, Jaime Perkins, Gwen Davis, Josh Fallon, Kyle Buckland
RELEASE DATE: 7/27/2010 | PRICE: DVD $21.99
SPECS: NR | 88 min. | Drama | 1.78:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 2.0

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The concept of abstinence education in high school is examined in this intense and timely drama movie. Sex and the U.S.A.‘s “documentary” approach, in which we view every event through the lead character’s video camera, grows quickly tiresome, but the actors ably bring their characters to life and drive the film’s strong message home.

Shayla Beesley stars (and also did some of the camerawork) as Audrey, a New Jersey transplant newly arrived in California who is drawn to a Christian abstinence class offered at her school. The film spells out the philosophy of abstinence education for a third of its running time, and then presents the underside of this chaste lifestyle: teens engaging in other sexual behavior that won’t qualify as what they call “biblical sex” and thus will help them retain their virginity.

Director Jan Wellmann and scripter Stephanie K. Smith take care not to gratuitously sleaze up the many sex-party sequences, but those might serve as an inducement for curious viewers to check out the film.

As well-meaning as the movie is, one wonders if it will reach its intended audience of teens on the fence about having sex, as the film’s more adult content will probably deflect viewers with a Christian bent away from it.

Although it often seems to be preaching to the choir, Sex and the U.S.A. tackles an important subject in a dynamic fashion.


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About Ed

Ed Grant has written about film for a wide range of periodicals, books and websites. He edited the reference book The Motion Picture Guide Annual and, since 1993, has produced and hosted the weekly cable program Media Funhouse, which Time magazine called “the most eclectic and useful movie show on TV.”