Lauren Lapkus and Nick Rutherford star in this tale of a couple trying to branch out.
Mal and Cal (Lapkus and Rutherford) are a couple that have been together for seven years, engaged for four, and have not yet set a date to get married. They go to the vow renewal of Malory’s parents (Beverly D’Angelo and John Kapelos) and find out that the couple have kept their marriage alive through being sexually adventurous. That evening, the pair go out to try and reinvigorate their relationship and end up deciding that they should have a threesome. They end up running into a very open young woman named Jesse (Lucy Hale), a gay strip club owner/dancer named Tyson (Beck Bennett), and a very helpful “masseuse” named April (Dree Hemingway) in their hunt to find the elusive “unicorn,” the person that is down for a threeway with a couple.
This movie asks the important question: Is everyone having group sex except you? It’s similar to the trope of most high school or college sex comedies where everyone feels like they’re the only one that isn’t sexually active. The thing is, this is never really about having sex or having group sex or whether it’s a good idea or not; just having to ask the question means that you are feeling insecure about something. In the case of the film, it’s that Mal and Cal both are trying to avoid the fact that their relationship has grown extremely stagnant. They feel like the idea of having a threesome is the best way to breathe new life into their rut, but they instead find out that there are lots of things that they didn’t know about each other.
That’s actually the subtle thing The Unicorn does that separates it from other, similar, sex comedies. There are moments of genuine emotional honesty that come out as the two find out that there are always more layers to the other person than you would expect. Unfortunately, that also means that there are things that the other person didn’t feel comfortable sharing, and if you’ve been together for seven years, you should probably not have a ton of those. Everyone has secrets, to be sure, but most of the ones in this movie are just told to the other person to avoid an honest discussion, something that ends up overwhelming the pair as more and more come out. While Lapkus and Rutherford are both more naturally comical, they also pull off the dramatic scenes well.
The supporting cast are also excellent. Each of the potential partners that the couple tries to find are all a different kind of inappropriate for them. Hale plays Jesse as being fairly ambiguous as to what she actually wants, and the final scene with her plays out perfectly. Bennett is… well, Beck Bennett is just damned funny. Here, he thrives on being just the right kind of inappropriate. Hemingway is a combination of effortlessly sexy and naturally understanding and contemplative. They’re all interesting characters that evoke different things from our leads. However, at the end, it seems likely that no one would ever REALLY be the right person for them, because they were only ever trying to find a way to avoid dealing with reality. As such, the right person doesn’t exist, like a unicorn.
Overall, it’s a decent movie, but I wasn’t blown away by it.
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