Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* *But Were Afraid to Ask (Woody Allen) 1972

Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* *But Were Afraid to Ask is tied along side The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain as the most annoyingly long titles in movie history. Actually I would give the edge to this movie because of the punctuation. It is one thing to shorten a title like TISCWSLaBMUZ but quite another to add asterisks. Seriously, it can’t be shortened. You can’t say ETYAWtKAS* *BWAtA. Seriously, fuck you Woody Allen.

Movie title humor aside, ETYAWtKAS* *BWAtA is named after the book it is based on also titled ETYAWtKAS* *BWAtA. The book was a nonfiction book which was, at that time, THE book people read about sex and answering common questions. The rights were held for a while but no one could figure out how exactly to translate this to film. Woody Allen made this as a collection of comedy short films based off of questions in the book. Each of these shorts are roughly 10-15 minutes but there are exceptions.

I keep referencing Take the Money and Run but once again I think it highlights the problem with a structure like ETYAWtKAS* *BWAtA. When you are telling rapid fire jokes, it is okay if several fall flat because you quickly move onto something that works for the audience. With this film, I have yet to see someone that loves every one of the short films. Eventually there is going to be one which either isn’t as good as the others or just isn’t funny for you and you are trapped for the next 10-15 minutes in an unfunny bit. One short I absolutely hated was when Woody tried to parody an Italian sex farce complete by having all the characters speaking Italian with no subtitles. For the first minute I thought to myself “That’s cute, he is trying to mock Fellini and whatnot” but then dragged on and on and on.

Another problem could be that the joke runs out of steam before the short is actually over. That was the problem I had with the Gene Wilder sketch. In that one, Wilder is a doctor who tries to help a patient who has fallen in love with a sheep. Wilder falls for the sheep and his life goes downhill from there. The sketch is funny, but again after fifteen or so minutes it was played out. This is something that Monty Python would have perfectly timed in a short five minute sketch or so.

That being said, I think there is still plenty that people will enjoy and that the positives outweigh the negatives. Even though some sketches didn’t work with me, I was still laughing a lot at the other ones. My favorites have to be the mad sex scientist (played by John Carradine of course) who releases a giant tit on the world and the sketch of the inside of the human body which is run by little people (and a tiny Burt Reynolds). For me this film is lower than Take the Money and Run and Bananas (so far in my Allen retrospective) but it is still a very funny movie. Anyone that is a fan of Woody’s early comedy I think will really like this movie.  Up next on the Woody retrospective is Sleeper.


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