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A Complete History of My Sexual Failures


Rod Lott January 14th, 2011

Nearing 40, British independent filmmaker Chris Waitt wonders why he's still living alone in a one-room flat, while all his friends are married and having kids.

He decides to get to the bottom of the matter by interviewing all his ex-girlfriends, to see what his problem is, and the end result is the often very funny and always frank "A Complete History of My Sexual Failures."

Easier said than done, as initially, Waitt can't find a single one to agree to the project after dialing them all up. At least one threatens legal action. After a little prodding from his mum, a couple of them give in. One was the girl he lost his virginity to, and she appears all too happy to have forgotten about him; another turned out to be the love of his life, and he hopes they may rekindle their flame, despite her being pregnant with another man's child; and yet another was a self-admitted sex addict.

In between the interviews, the documentary finds Waitt — a Kurt Cobain look-alike with incredibly poor hygiene and housekeeping skills to match his fashion sense (read: zero) — subjecting himself to one humiliation after another, from visiting a doctor to discuss his erectile dysfunction to meeting a MySpace friend in person, who happens to be a dominatrix with her own dungeon. (Warning: His testicle trauma by her hands — and whips — plays out in full view of the camera. And it's leg-crossingly hilarious.)

Perhaps the most memorable scene finds him downing seven Viagra and untold beers at once, leading to a most painful erection he wishes to appease by asking a street full of strangers to have sex with him. Will he succeed?

Despite Waitt's never-grown-up demeanor — his flat is littered with toys and pubic hair; one wonders if he knows how to use a comb — he's so quiet, wiry and nervous that he's instantly on viewers' sides. A doc like this wouldn't work if the subject were a hound with frat-boy sensibilities, rubbing audiences' faces in the man notches in his bedposts, but Waitt is a normal guy with normal problems, but a sharp sense of dry humor. That's best revealed in a Q-and-A with an ex who agrees to it only by communicating from behind a curtain, "speaking" via a text-to-voice program on her computer.

There's no way at least some of the show can't be staged, but its emotions are undeniably worn on its sleeve, perhaps accounting for its abrupt end. There's more to Waitt's story, as the short film amid the extra features fills you in, but part of me wishes I hadn't watched that, as I love that "Sexual Failures" closes on a note of uncertainty, but hope. We can all relate. —Rod Lott

 
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