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‘A Good Old Fashioned Orgy’ is a middling new sex comedy

The title is the most striking aspect of “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy,” which features a talented cast of comedians and should make for agreeable enough viewing during its inevitable movie channel run. The film itself isn’t as outrageous or uproarious as the name might hope to suggest.

Eric (Jason Sudekis) is a 30-something working a menial office job just long enough to escape to his father’s Hamptons beach house and throw themed parties with his list of high school buddies.

On the male side, this includes raucous partier McCrudden (Tyler Labine), Blackberry-addicted Adam (Nick Kroll) and indecisive rock star Duquez (Martin Starr). The four women are brash psychologist Alison (Lake Bell), mousy teacher Laura (Lindsay Sloane) and Sue (Michelle Borth), who still harbors a crush on Eric – as well as Duquez’s girlfriend Willow (Angela Sarafyan).

When his father eventually decides to sell the house, Eric settles on an intimate orgy between friends as a final party blowout. After varying levels of trepidation, the whole group agrees to the plan, but the situation gets increasingly complicated when Eric starts to fall for the realtor Kelly (Leslie Bibb), who is trying to sell the house.

Though the movie is an independent, Samuel Goldwyn Films release that shares the “will-they, won’t-they tension of “Humpday” and orgy centerpiece of “Shortbus,” its spirit is undeniably a mainstream R-rated comedy like “Hall Pass” or “Bad Teacher.”

In a way, the film is a natural extension of raunchy television shows like “The League” and “Children’s Hospital” – which both have featured Kroll, Bell and Starr – to higher extremes. The actors are allowed to say the f-word without being censored and perform the act on each other in various pairings.

Yet, arguably, the movie doesn’t go as far as it perhaps should. Though the film never backs down from the titular event, after building up to it for the whole movie, it’s a surprisingly tame affair with bare backs and obscured body parts.

The script by writer-directors Alex Gregory and Peter Hyuck – making their cinematic debut after writing for “The Larry Sanders Show” and “The Late Show with David Letterman” – sometimes also goes for long stretches without any standout jokes or one-liners. That’s a problem for the film, which doesn’t really stand out in terms of outrageousness.

Perhaps contributing to the problem is that the two started writing the screenplay as early as 1997 – long before the recent surge in hard-R comedies with “graphic nudity,” which now inevitably means full frontal male nudity played for laughs. “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy” is no different, employing it in a mattress store swinger party scene that seemingly shoots for shocks but comes up short.

The strongest aspect of the film is its cast. Sudekis makes for a fairly charming lead, Kroll gets to play an unusually restrained and likable character and Bell and Sloane are both funny and game. The screenplay also hits some interesting notes, such as a scene where everyone’s insecurities and hurts leading up to the orgy are revealed at once, but it too often runs back into its problems.

“A Good Old Fashioned Orgy” is able to coast on its affable ensemble and is too benevolent to criticize too harshly, particularly in its suggestion that an orgy might actually be a positive experience for some groups of friends. Yet, filmgoers hoping for something truly surprising should probably look beyond this low-key comedy.