There’s a certain audience who’s going to know exactly what this new movie is trying to get at.
How to Please a Woman is a shining example of a movie that knows exactly who its audience is, and goes all-in to cater to them.
And why not? Everyone wants to see their experiences reflected on the screen – in between superhero antics and moving stories from other cultures.
How to Please a Woman is targeted at women of a certain age – in this case, the upper end of Gen X and older – and taps into a specific but universal desire: great sex.
It’s a relatable film that touches on many of the frustrations that plague a generation of women who have been made to feel invisible.
The Australian comedy is a good-natured romp centred on the pathos of unfulfilled longing and the journey in learning how to ask for what you want. The film, written and directed by Renee Webster (TV’s Aftertaste and The Heights), is a tender, cheeky and cheerful story.
Starring British actor Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones’ Diary), it’s rounded out by a cast of Australian and New Zealand talent including Erik Thomson, Alexander England, Cameron Daddo, Tasma Walton and Hayley McElhinney.
Gina (Phillips) is an overlooked and under-appreciated woman in her 50s. She hasn’t had sex with her husband (Daddo) in more than a year and she’s just been restructured out of her job at a liquidation company – she suspects it’s because of ageism.
One of the last things she did in her role was to pick up paperwork from a removalist company run by Steve (Thomson), which is about to go out of business. But Gina believes there’s a way to save it – but it’s not without risks.
Gina convinces the men – Steve and three young workers (England, Ryan Johnson and Josh Thomson) – to become cleaners for women. The caveat is that they clean and strip – or whatever it is the client desires.
The enterprise takes on a risqué edge and before long, the client list is teeming with women who wants to have great sex without the complications. They are unleashed, able to communicate what it is they want, and not just putting up with what they have.
The only person who isn’t being fulfilled is Gina, but Steve makes a great croissant and it’s not hard to see there’s something brewing.
How to Please a Woman makes its business about pleasure and it’s refreshing in how it doesn’t judge its female clients or its male sex workers.
The sex scenes are tame. They’re not raunchy, steamy or bawdy – this isn’t going to elicit squeals of disbelief like 50 Shades of Grey, more like a few knowing chuckles.
It doesn’t feel as if it has to rely on shock value because the core of the story isn’t about the sex, it’s about learning to accept that sex can be great, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting it to be great.
How to Please a Woman is in cinemas now