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Wild At Heart movie review - Afternoon Delight

Wild Bill Ketelhut provides the "blog" to this anti-blog

Wild At Heart

In 1976, the Starlight Vocal Band took the song "Afternoon Delight" to #1 on the charts and used it to garner 2 Grammy Awards. In 2010, Billboard ranked it #20 on a list of the sexiest songs ever written though the song does has in detractors also. In a similar vein is a film of the same name which is opening tomorrow at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak. This film flirts with being sexy but sometimes plays it too safe.

Kathryn Hahn (known for her role as Jennifer on 'Parks and Recreation') portrays Rachel, who despite being married to the man she loves and blessed with a lovely son, finds herself bored being a stay-at-home housewife. Things are going stale and she cannot find anything to excite her. Things in the bedroom are getting disappointing as her husband Jeff (Josh Radnor known for playing Ted on "How I Met Your Mother") even has a safe word for "no sex tonight". One night a girlfriend tells her that she went to a strip club and used that to spice up her relationship. Rachel talks Jeff into going to a club in hopes that it might do the same for their sex life. They both seem a bit out of their comfort zone but Rachel ends up getting a lap dance by a young stripper name McKenna (Juno Temple) and by the time she gets Jeff back home the spark seems to be back.

However the experience seems to have affected Rachel more than she knows as she later meets McKenna near the club and befriends her. After getting kicked out of her living arrangement, Rachel invites McKenna to live with her a bit which seems almost to be turning into a long term commitment with McKenna as her nanny. Rachel and McKenna play a sort of tug-of-war at this point as she tries to influence McKenna to give up her lifestyle which includes prostitution and McKenna seems to want to get Rachel to accept that part of her live by eventually bringing her along on a "date". Things spiral out of control after Rachel's girlfriends find out about McKenna's background and gets Rachel to lose McKenna's wavering trust which has some bad consequences for a number of people.

The film has some very nice fun moments and Kathryn and Josh do a good job selling their characters relationship. The weakness is with McKenna who is a nice character but her role at times seems to not really fit into this universe. Depending on how much you buy into Rachel's obsessive desire to help her (is it sexual, is it motherly, is it faith-based..) and bring a stripper/prostitute into her home after 1 lap dance will determine how much you like this film. Don't get me wrong, Juno is quite good as McKenna but is this character right for such a big part in this film and could the film be served better with less of her character and more interaction between our two leads trying to spice up their life?

I am drawn down the middle of that debate which is why I ended up giving the film a B-. I enjoyed all the characters but would liked to have seen the film revolve more around Rachel and Jeff and less of McKenna. The end seems a bit too wrapped up in a pretty bow and blew the opportunity to really make a powerful statement on the sex lives of people and the ramifications of our choices. I did expect a bit more from Jill Soloway, the producer/writer of "Six Feet Under" and "The United States Of Tara", who does a good job with nuanced and quirky characters.