Sex-comedy, the pursuit
of happiness?

There is no time like the weekend to see what's new at the movies.

The themes of local movies are basically the same; whether it's a heart-pounding horror story or a breathtaking romance.

But there is also something new on offer: Sex-comedy.

In Namaku Dick (My Name is Dick), Bama (Tora Sudiro) is thrown into a panic when a voice greets him in the bathroom. Is it a ghost? Is it his conscious? No, it's his penis talking.

Although no one else can hear it, the "birdie" won't shut up, giving a running commentary on the life of the playboy architect.

Bama's doctor can't say what's wrong with him, so he consults a dukun (shaman), who advises him to come clean with all his lovers about his cheating ways. In the process, the dukun says, Bama will win the heart of the girl he's loved since elementary school, Tiara (Marissa Nasution)

The 80s German movie Ich und Er (Me and Him) also told the story of an architect whose life was thrown upside down by his talking penis.

But Namaku Dick, directed by Teddy Soeriatmadja, is not half so clever.

Sex-comedies are being made left, right and center, partly because of the success of similar movies like Quickie Express by Dimas Djayadiningrat, Kawin Kontrak (Contract Marriage) by Ody C Harahap and XL/Extra Large by Monty Tiwa. ML/Mau Lagi by Thomas Nawilis is ready to roll too.

Though they were not specifically sex-comedies, Quickie Express was about gigolos finding love and Kawin Kontrak about three city boys looking for wives in the village so they could legitimately have some fun in bed.

XL is about a man who worries he may not be able to satisfy his future wife in bed due to his "small size", while the upcoming ML explores the issues facing a 20-year-old virgin.

Nia Dinata, the producer of Quickie Express, said the genre existed largely because of media packaging.

"While making the movie, we never thought about it as a sex-comedy. For us, Quickie Express is a love story with social content," she said.

Teddy Suryaatmadja (the director of Ruang (Spaces) and also the remake of the classic Indonesian movie, Badai Pasti Berlalu), said Namaku Dick had posed a new set of challenges.

Film critic Eric Sasono said Indonesian audiences would be watching a lot more sex-comedies in the future.

He said sex-comedies were making a lot of money, despite their low production values.

"This situation is a reflection of the public's attitude toward film. The audience laps these films up, even though they have nothing more to offer than sex and ridiculous storylines."

Nia said Indonesian filmmakers had long been "followers".

"It won't be long before everyone is making Islamic movies (thanks to the success of Ayat-Ayat Cinta/Verses of Love)," she said.

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