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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex

Woody Allen took on more than any human being could do when he attempted to adapt the best-seller Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask. It was a nonfiction book, so Allen did what any sensible person would; he threw it out and started from the top. Seven segments make up this melange--some of them work; some of them are dreadful. It was Allen's sixth screenplay, his third directorial assignment, and one of his weakest efforts. When Allen appears in a segment, it works, as in "Do Aphrodisiacs Work?" He plays a court jester to the king, Quayle. He gives the queen an aphrodisiac and then can't open her chastity belt. Lots of Shakespearean references in this, one of the better ones. Gene Wilder stars in "What Is Sodomy?" as a man in love with a sheep who is caught making love to the animal by his wife and her divorce attorneys. The best piece is an Antonioni takeoff with Allen and Lasser in "Why Some Women Have Trouble Reaching Orgasm." You could sell this bit as a short, and it would stand on its own. In "Are Transvestites Homosexuals?" Jacobi is an old Jewish businessman who likes to dress up in drag and has to escape when visiting the house of his daughter's fiance. In "What Happens During Ejaculation?" Tony Randall stars as the operator who sends Allen out as Sperm No. 2 only to be encountered by a 400-foot diaphragm. Barry satirizes himself in "What's My Perversion?" as the host of a kinky TV show. The weakest of the bunch stars Carradine, with Allen and MacCrae as a young couple visiting a sexual clinic in a Karloff-type house. It winds up with them all being chased by a mammoth breast across the countryside. The film was filled with lively humor, and Wilder, as a psychiatrist who scoffs at his patient's love affair with a sheep (until he meets the sheep himself), does some of his best acting. It's filled with cameos (see cast list), and the stories read better than they play. Despite all of the sex antics, it's cute and off-color rather than being totally obscene. Worth watching but only on cable TV because the network censors will never let it play the way it was done.