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"The Oh in Ohio": Posey sparkles in otherwise lackluster production
Special to The Seattle Times
What a great year for Parker Posey. The 37-year-old actress' comic talent has never been more striking than in 2006.
So far this year, the willowy Posey has demonstrated gleeful inspiration as a formerly obese stand-up comedian who bewilders audiences with out-of-date fat jokes in the wonderful "Adam & Steve." She also elevated the knockabout role of Lex Luthor's fretful sidekick, Kitty, in "Superman Returns" to a more soulful and fuller character than one might have expected.
Posey also had a very funny role as a voraciously competitive attorney on ABC's "Boston Legal" last season. And she'll be seen on the big screen again this November in one of the year's most anticipated comedies, Christopher Guest's "For Your Consideration."
Posey's such a delight it's easy to appreciate her even in a film as fruitless as "The Oh in Ohio." The game star throws herself into the ridiculous role of a "sexually dysfunctional" advertising executive whose life falls apart, then rebuilds, after she experiences her first orgasm.
Posey brings so much charm, vulnerability and seasoned instincts for farce to the thinly-drawn character it's almost impossible to think of anyone else retaining her clownish dignity in over-the-top scenes. Facing the prospect of a crumbling marriage to Jack (Paul Rudd), a high-school teacher who has deteriorated emotionally because he can't satisfy his wife, Posey's Priscilla goes to extremes to reach a climax.
Among other things, Priscilla attends a seminar taught by an ecstatic masturbation master (a labored performance by Liza Minnelli), and spends a marathon session in bed with a noisy vibrator. In these and other strained sequences of faux-sophisticated adult silliness, Posey softens her fearlessness with a unique sweetness and tender intelligence.
Mischa Barton is impressive as an incisive student who offers Jack sexual healing. But an ill-fitting subplot involving a swimming-pool contractor (Danny DeVito) figures unexpectedly into the film's final half-hour, throwing a curve into this otherwise shapeless movie.
Even that isn't unpleasant to watch, however, largely thanks to Posey's consummate gifts.
Tom Keogh: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company