Lena Dunham’s Sharp Second Feature Stick’s with You.

Sharp Stick

Lena Dunham’s second feature (she seems to have been around forever!) Sharp Stick begins promisingly and keeps you interested for about sixty of its efficient eight-six minutes.

Sarah Jo (played by relative newcomer Kristine Froseth) is a child trapped in a woman’s body. She is a 26-year-old caregiver who had a hysterectomy at age 17 (as did Dunham), for medical reasons, and is still a virgin. She lives with her mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) a Hollywood type (two Duran Duran videos and five husbands) and budding influencer sister (Taylor Paige) in Hollywood-adjacent San Fernando Valley.

Sharp Stick

The film opens with Sara Jo babysitting Zach (Liam Michel Saux), a kid with Down syndrome, who is the son of real estate agent and family provider Heather and her husband Josh. Harried and heavily pregnant with child number two, Heather is played by Dunham herself, while Josh, who sits at home all day doing nothing, is played by the always excellent Jon Bernthal. The clock is ticking, and Sarah Jo decides that it will be cute and charming Josh who is going to deflower here and open the door to the world of sex. Sex as in sexual intercourse, masturbation, pornography, and sexually transmitted diseases. Josh puts up a little bit of resistance but relents with alarming speed allowing Dunham to have fun with a variety of well-timed and inventive erotic poses.

Dunham’s dialogue is smart, clever, and entertaining and Froseth takes on the role with relish. She’s a veritable Alice who has disappeared down some erotic portal. Dressed like an overgrown child, Sarah Jo simply raises her skirt in front of Josh when she wants action. The banter between Leigh and Page is also Dunham at her best, the wise mother passing on her dearly learned knowledge of what does and does not work in the outer fringes of Hollywood to her rapaciously ambitious daughter.

Sharp Stick

Eventually, as she is on the way to the hospital to give birth, Heather learns of the sexual shenanigans going on between her husband and Sarah Jo and the tone of the film shifts to a more straight-forward dramatic approach. Stripped of her babysitting milieu, Sarah-Jo is now at a loss for things to do. So, she become fixated on a porn star and decides to complete her sexual education, Kama Sutra-style, with complete strangers. It is here that Dunham loses her way. We are not sure what she is trying to say, and the movie takes on a more bitter tase. However, it’s a quick ride and, for most of its short length, “Sharp Stick” is quite entertaining.


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