Capsule Review: The End of Sex (2023)

First things first, The End of Sex is not what you think it’s going to be. Certainly not a raunchy type of rom-com with explicit sex scenes and nudity even when the movie revolves around a boring married couple looking to explore different sexual experiences. Instead, director Sean Garrity and his frequent collaborator, Jonas Chernick, who also acted and wrote the screenplay, settled for the more grounded aspect of its aforementioned premise.

The story follows a married couple Josh (Chernick) and Emma (Emily Hampshire), who just sent their two lovely daughters to winter camp. The good news is, the two have a week to do whatever they want. Not to mention total privacy without their kids around means they can choose to have sex without closing the doors.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen after their attempt for passionate sex ends with a whimper. Josh and Emma are frustrated and they want to do something about it to reinvigorate their mundane sex life. So, they set out to try whatever they dare to do including a threesome with Emma’s co-worker and friend, Wendy (Melanie Scrofano) and a trip to a sex club. Comedy hijinks ensue throughout their sexual adventures with one of them leading to among the movie’s funniest scenes: The pair’s unexpectedly awkward encounter with Emma’s dad played by Whose Line Is It Anyway? veteran Colin Mochrie, who delivers a scene-stealing deadpan cameo performance.

Wendy (Melanie Scrofano) and Emma (Emily Hampshire) in "The End of Sex" (2023)

As if Josh and Emma’s sexual adventures aren’t enough to test their limits, they also face another problem. Emma’s friend, Marlon (Gray Powell) back in their college days has a long-time crush on her while the millennial Kelly (Lily Gao) secretly developed a feeling for her co-worker, Josh.

The sex scenes in this movie may have been lacklustre and Chernick’s screenplay is something that we have seen countless times before in sex-related rom-com movies. But what makes The End of Sex remains a decent viewing experience is Chernick and Hampshire’s restrained performances that feel like real people than typically too-good-to-be-true Hollywood on-screen couples. They even share genuine chemistry and it’s fun watching them either bickering, debating or having trouble enjoying sex.

As predictable as the story is, it feels relatable because it reflects the real-life situation of how a married couple struggling to find physical and emotional satisfaction in their sex life. Not to forget, a situation of parenting kids means the freedom a couple used to have in the past has become a distant past. And this is exactly what happened to Josh and Emma. Garrity’s direction, in the meantime, keeps the pace brisk at a mere 87 minutes. The lean runtime is just nice and doesn’t feel draggy. The movie also features a solid supporting cast that includes Gray Powell, Lily Gao and particularly a feisty turn from Melanie Scrofano, who’s been obsessing over Emma ever since she gets to know her. There’s a good soundtrack during the end credits — a little-known decades-old (2006, to be exact) rhythmic and funky song called “Butter Me Up” from indie band Ego Spank’s “Bootleg” album.

Technically speaking, the movie doesn’t display any noteworthy moments in terms of its cinematography and production design since Garrity is more interested in developing Josh and Emma’s character arcs throughout their ups and downs over the course of a week. The End of Sex isn’t as great as I thought it would be qualified as an indie gem. But it’s sufficient enough for what it is — a well-acted sex comedy bolstered by Jonas Chernick and Emma Hampshire’s great performances.