Dig those movies about women getting in touch with their sexuality. The subject is so. . .malleable. It is the stuff of hardcore porn (Behind the Green Door) and feminist treatise (The Good Mother) with all the shades of softcore (Emily) and Hollywood theatrics in-between (An Unmarried Woman). This is hardly surprising because the notion holds appeal for female and male alike.

It certainly haunts male fantasies. Men like to think that they, and they alone, hold the key to some poor unfortunate lass's erotic awakening; if she's gagging for it, I've got it. Yeah, right. Women are attracted to the idea for radically different reasons - it acknowledges female libido, expression (not repression), an opportunity to somehow be equal with men, and, who knows, maybe even have an orgasm into the bargain.

The most interesting thing about Sirens (above) is how it tries to merge all these preoccupations. Not wanting to place the entire burden of discovery on a woman's shoulders, the film shows vicar Hugh Grant to be as passionless as wife Tara Fitzgerald, but the focus soon shifts to the lady alone. She's the one who has dreams of being caressed by artist Sam Neill's trio of female models - softcore revisited. Proximity to the bohemian loosens Fitzgerald's tongue - cue feminist speeches. Sam Neill makes his move, New men and Old men wet themselves. And so on.

None of it works. What Sirens finally reveals is how old-fashioned its idee fixe is. Wisely, it's meant to be a comedy - there's certainly no 'drama' left. Maybe women have gotten in touch with their sexuality, thank you, and maybe the next time the topic hits celluloid it should skip comedy for parody, where, hey, maybe it belongs.

(Photograph omitted)

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