SENSITIVE JOHNSON

2 Stars
Year Released: 2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 90 minutes
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Scott Johnson is a singer songwriter who writes exclusively about an unrequited high school love. After playing the ballad “Friends With the Prom Queen,” on one seemingly ordinary night, Jen, the object of his obsession mysteriously shows up, and starts showing interest in him. The two go out on a few dates, but as things start to heat up Scott discovers he’s not prepared to receive the affection he’s wanted his whole life. Every time they start to get hot and heavy, he blows it, or as he sings later in the film “every time you get going, I’m done.”

As you might be able to tell by the title, the entire film is built upon the embarrassment and damage to the male ego caused by premature ejaculation. Scott is horrified that Jen might find out, and quickly excuses himself after every embarrassing mishap. But, even though the premise feels more suited for a SNL skit, the filmmakers do manage a few inspired moments. Scott narrates their first couple dates in song, with the camera cutting back and forth between the date and his frustrated commentary. At one point, the couple waltzes in front of a flute and cello player casually performing along a city street and the accompaniment builds into the song. In a hilarious chorus, Scott reaches the conclusion that there are too many Starbucks and starts shouting wildly. It’s this light-heartedness that stretches the film further than its somewhat crude premise suggests.

However, a side plot involving his best friend’s engagement seems only convenient to delay the inevitable confrontation where Scott will have to swallow his ego and be honest about his problem. Jen is not very well developed, either, the only thing we know about her is that a long time ago, her and Scott were friends, and she liked him then, and she likes him now. Whenever the two are together and it seems like we’re going to learn something about them, they start to get physical and well—you know what happens. The only assurance we get that their love is the real thing is that she’s willing to put up with a man who, after a few kisses, jumps up and runs from the room. The subplot, wherein Scott’s roommate Mike’s troubled relationship with his girlfriend accelerates toward marriage after she tells him she’s pregnant, is almost more rich in detail, and leads to a number of male-bonding moments. But the “serious” moments serve mostly as interruptus for the central running joke.

Although, unfortunately, the film never returns to the inspired semi-musical format it took for Scott and Jen’s first dates, the running soundtrack is full of lines like “I’m not going to blow this one,” and other dead-serious quips in the joke-rock tradition. In the end, after barely having the courage to tell another soul about his condition, Scott outs himself via song in a very public place, a blow-up that could have been much more potent if the film would’ve kept the momentum from it’s strong start. However, it’s fitting–and probably inevitable–that with a premise this thin, the movie would reach it’s climax a little too soon.



Posted on August 17, 2005 in Reviews by
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