Plot Synopsis by Mark Deming
Woody Allen’s in-name-only adaptation of the once notorious sexual reference guide by Dr. David Reuben contains seven episodes based on “helpful” questions answered in the book. In “Do Aphrodisiacs Work?”, Allen appears as a court jester who uses a love potion to spark the erotic interests of the Queen (Lynn Redgrave). “What Is Sodomy?” stars Gene Wilder as a doctor who throws away his marriage, career, and position in the community when he falls madly in love with an Armenian sheep named Daisy. “Why Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching Orgasm?” is a parody of stylish Italian films of the ’60s in which a slick playboy (Woody Allen) discovers his wife (Louise Lasser) can climax only when they make love in public places. In “Are Transvestites Homosexuals?,” Sam (Lou Jacobi) has his little secret revealed at a most inopportune moment. “What Are Sex Researchers Actually Accomplishing?” features John Carradine in a great parody of his mad-scientist roles as Dr. Bernardo, whose research into human sexuality has led to a fearsome mutation — a 50-foot tall female breast! “What Are Sexual Perversions?” takes us to a broadcast of the popular game show What’s My Perversion?, in which Jack Barry leads a panel of celebrities (including Regis Philbin and Robert Q. Lewis) in guessing the erotic obsessions of their guests. And “What Happens During Ejaculation?” takes the audience inside the body of a man in the throes of passion; The Brain (Tony Randall) guides the body’s functions, with the help of his assistant (Burt Reynolds), while Allen plays a nervous sperm cell not sure if he can make the big jump. While the quality of the episodes is uneven, the best rank with the funniest moments of Allen’s career, especially Gene Wilder’s touching romance with the sheep (“I think we can make this work, Daisy”) and the final sequence inside the male body (“What if he’s only masturbating? I’ll end up on the ceiling somewhere!”).