How to Please a Woman review – Sally Phillips dishes out sex-positive domestic gods

Phillips charms in this Australian-set comedy about a businesswoman who runs a service that offers male sex workers who also scrub floors

Arriving like a horny bus to a public transport orgy, this is the second comedy in a matter of weeks, after Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, about women hiring sex workers. Be that a happy coincidence or the start of a trend, it’s cheering that both films are so entertaining, body positive and upbeat but still entirely different experiences. This take on the material is set in Australia and revolves around Gina (played by the protean Sally Phillips), a middle manager of a certain age, stuck in a functional but practically sexless marriage. When Gina’s friends club together to pay handsome moving company employee Tom (Chris Hemsworth-lookalike Alexander England) to arrive at her house and strip for her on her birthday, she turns town his offer of sex and requests that he help clean the living room instead.

The encounter plants a seed in Gina’s mind when she gets made redundant at her own place of business and Tom’s moving company is about to be forcibly shuttered by the same outfit. As entrepreneurial as she is sexually frustrated, Gina arranges to turn the moving company into a service for women that offers its burly male employees as sex workers who also scrub floors or do any other domestic chore the client wants. The whole concept is a bit daft, but it gives the film a chance to create comedy out of the Full Monty-style transformation of the schlubby blokes into sensitive lovers, with the help of Gina’s many friends who sign up for the service.

The end result is nowhere near as persuasive or grounded in solid screenwriting as Leo Grande is, but Phillips has always been a charmer onscreen and, like Grande’s Emma Thompson, she’s more than willing to use her talent here to make a case for women learning to manage and take charge of their own pleasure.

• How to Please a Woman is released on 8 July on Sky Cinema, and is screening now in Australian cinemas.


Leslie Felperin

The GuardianTramp

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