VOD film review: A Guide to Second Date Sex
Written by Arthur
7/10 Rating 7.7/10
The character-driven rom-com is frank, awkward and properly funny.
Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Rachel Hirons Cast: George MacKay, Alexandra Roach, Michael Socha, Emma Rigby Certificate: 15 Watch A Guide to Second Date Sex online in the UK: BFI Player / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Virgin Movies / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
Not enough films show how difficult dating is. The constant self-doubting, the analysing of all communication and the omni-hesitation out of fear of getting it wrong and ruining everything – not to mention the various 21st-century obstacles it takes to get a date in the first place. A Guide to Second Date Sex is the kind of film that gets it right by showing just wrong it really all is – this is less a how-to guide and more how-not-to guide.
At 81 minutes long, it’s a British comedy that sustains laughs for the entirety of its running time. There are moments of absolute cringe and absolute charm in equal measure. It’s the story of an every-couple, Laura (Alexandra Roach) and Ryan (George MacKay) who met in a bar. Having both been destroyed by previous relationships, they’re both desperate not to screw it up on their next date – although their respective friends and family have a lot to say on what role ‘screwing’ should play. Ryan decides to follow the advice of his best mate (Michael Socha) and turn his dinner out with Laura into a night in at his place – with hilariously chaotic consequences.
This is a truly winning film on multiple counts. For the most part, the antics take place in Ryan’s house, like an extended bottle episode of a TV show. In a film of lesser quality, this would have felt drawn out and quickly become tiresome, but Rachel Hirons’ feature-length directorial debut (she also wrote the witty script) is a charming watch because of her tighter focus on characters. Roach and MacKay are totally charming leads, endearing with problems that will feel supremely relatable to quite a few of us. There’s absolutely no polish with either person – they’re raw and slightly damaged yet remain hopeful. They’re made for each other, if they can just get through their sabotaging self-doubts – and this second date.
A Guide to Second Date Sex is the exact opposite of what we’ve come to associate with most rom-coms as it reveals (and revels in) the thing most people are afraid to admit: no one knows what they’re doing, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. It’s frank, awkward and properly funny.