Reviews

A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures

4

Letting it all hang out in a funny-sad self-portrait

Bugger-all people made the effort to see this hilarious, self-lacerating documentary in cinemas, so hopefully it will find a home at, um, home – perhaps as a wince-inducing date rental for those currently adrift in stuttering or stale relationships.

It certainly makes you think. Chris Waitt is the director, star and subject, taking the fictional proposition of Nick Hornby's bloke-lit hit HighFidelity and following it in his real life: tracking down as many ex-girlfriends as he can, to discover exactly why they dumped him.

Some concur, some slam doors on him, others refuse to be appear on camera – with one of them agreeing to be interviewed behind a screen, using a Stephen Hawkings-style voice-changer to avoid being identified. It's this scene that's the stagiest of Waitt's sweet, strange little film: it stretches credibility to almost snapping point, which is probably why some reviews have questioned just how vérité his cinema is… But Total Film has grilled Waitt, encountered his friends and family and the dominatrix who – in one very excruciating scene which will have every man wimpering – whips his balls and we can confirm that his life really does seem as strange as it appears on screen.

Yes, the film is ramshackle and you might find yourself as irritated by the diffident filmmaker as are so many of his ex-girlfriends. (Speaking of irritations: a documentary with not one bonus feature? Highly disappointing.) But for all the daftness and discomfort he emerges as just another befuddled bloke, not quite sure what's required of him in love and life and trying to get past his own selfishness.

Think of A Complete History OfMy Sexual Failures as RELATE meets Monty Python. Funny, but true.
 

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