Outfest 2019: “Good Kisser” Is a Threesome Farce That’s Afraid to Be Fun

I think it’s important to review every movie based on the kind of movie it’s trying to be. There’s room within queer cinema for boundary pushing art and sexy fun. Late at night, when you’re a little high and scrolling through Netflix’s LGBTQ section, you probably just want whatever has two girls almost kissing on the poster. Or three.

Wendy Jo Carlton’s Good Kisser is a threesome farce that could have been the perfect movie for that mood. Unfortunately, it undercuts its strengths with manufactured conflict.

Kari Alison Hodge as Jenna, Rachel Paulson as Kate, and Julia Eringer as Mia

Jenna and Kate, a couple that’s been together for one year or two depending who you ask, decide to have a threesome. They have a date scheduled and they’re nervous.

It’s obvious once they enter Mia’s home that something is amiss. Kate is actively hostile to Jenna, and it’s clear Mia is hiding something, or multiple things.

These early scenes are frustrating as Jenna’s intense anxiety and Kate’s random cruelty feel overdone and unjustified. But once the characters start to get drunk and everyone relaxes, the movie reveals its charm. While the larger conflicts may fall flat, the dramatic minutia when the threesome is going well is really enjoyable to watch. Moments that are the most fun, like when the characters are dancing, or playing spin the bottle, or first having sex, are also the most dramatically and comedically successful.

All the actors do their best to ground the material. Julia Eringer as Mia is especially good at providing a stabilizing presence between the drama of the couple.

The best scene of the movie involves a popsicle sex act that’s driven by spite. The reason this moment works so well isn’t just because it’s the most explicit in the film. It’s also the only time Jenna is allowed to respond to conflict in a way that feels real and unique and fun.

If only more of the film had this level of ease. If only Carlton had allowed her movie to be what it so clearly wanted to be.

Drew is an LA-based writer, filmmaker, and theatremaker. She is currently working on a short film about Gordo from Lizzie McGuire’s transition (it’s canon) and a million other projects. She also runs social media for I Heart Female Directors. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @draw_gregory.

Drew has written 51 articles for us.

2 Comments

  1. This review is so off base, I’m not sure where to begin. I’ll start at the initial review premise that this is a farcical movie that’s not farcical enough. Nothing about this movie says “farce” – I don’t believe it’s intended to be, nor is it advertised as such! So I can see her disappointment if she was expecting “The Birdcage”, and instead found herself at a movie that has nuance and subtle emotional intelligence. Instead of being spoon-fed the cheating trope we’ve all seen a million times of someone walking in on their lover in flagrante delicto, we witness micro aggressions from Kate, and feel Jenna’s pain as she realizes that the person she is genuinely in love with is way less genuine with her affection. The audience I watched this with at Outfest seemed to get this (judging from the active vocal reactions and loud applause). When Jenna moves through her insecurities and takes her power back (popsicle) we were cheering – that’s called a story arc – which is a term the writer of this review might want to look up if they are going to continue to try to write about film. Good Kisser raises the bar for lesbian films. The writing is spot on relatable and the actors are fantastic.

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