January 16, 2001 -- "Just One Time" is a sex farce involving both bisexual and homosexuals. It is pretty funny, on a sitcom level, even though it doesn't have the guts to go all the way with its idea.
Writer, director, producer, actor Lane Janger expanded this story from a short film of the same name that he made a few years back. Janger stars as Anthony, a firefighter who is about to be married. He has a fantasy where he wants his fiancée, Amy (Joelle Carter of "High Fidelity") to engage in sexual activity with another woman while he watches. For some inexplicable reason, he feels it is O.K. to do this before marriage, but not after, so as the marriage date gets closer, he becomes more frantic about getting his ménage à trois. She refuses, but he keeps whining about it until she finally says yes, but she insists he has to do something for her, too.
Anthony is not at all happy with Amy's request. He's not sure what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Both go about their chores of fulfilling their ends of the bargain without much enthusiasm, at least at first. Amy winds up with the self-assured Michelle (Jennifer Esposito of the "Spin City" TV show), while Anthony is unhappily paired with a young, gay neighbor, Victor, (Guillermo Díaz of "200 Cigarettes"). His steadfast firehouse buddies help him out by chaperoning him on a "date," which turns out in a very funny and unexpected manner. There is also the usual mistaken identity plot device.
Both Anthony and Amy wind up learning a lot about themselves, and about sexual preferences. The story doesn't really push the envelope, but it does try to break down sexual preference stereotypes in a rather mild way. Anthony is almost comically up tight, while Amy is less so. David Lee Russek of "Spin City" is effective playing Anthony's friend and fellow firefighter, Dom. Vincent Laresca plays Nick and Domenick Lombardozzi plays Cyrill, a couple of Anthony's friends.
Janger seems a little nervous and scruffy in the lead role, but he has a kind of charming vulnerability as the groom without a clue. Joelle Carter seems a bit stiff and remote as well and there is not much chemistry between the two. Esposito and Díaz are both very good in their supporting roles, however. Díaz is the wide-eyed innocent, and Esposito is the rock-solid, self-assured, independent adult, almost a mother figure. That crazy firehouse crew is also effective. Some of them could fit right in the chorus line with The Village People. This is not great, or risk-taking, filmmaking, but it does have a certain undeniable charm. The film rates a B.
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