‘30 Beats’ Turns Out to Be Movie STD: Sexual but Theme-Deprived

Sex—get too much of it from different people all at once and there’s a chance that bad things could happen. While humans can get sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so can movies. In the movie “30 Beats,” writer and director Alexis Lloyd looks into the lives of ten New Yorkers who are all linked to each other through character interactions and sexual desires. But while the 88-minute-long movie does cover a good variety of situations and lifestyles, the lack of a unifying pressing issue or theme (other than sex) causes the movie to get categorized under “STD”: Sexual but Theme-Deprived.

However, Lloyd does deserve credit for the frank and realistic portrayal of sexual relationships throughout the movie. “30 Beats” starts off with a young virgin named Julie (Condola Rasha), who wants her friend Adam (Justin Kirk, “Weeds”) to have sex with her. The connections start to build as Adam seeks to release his mind with his therapist, Erika (Jennifer Tilly), while conveniently having sex with her at the same time. Erika then finds out that her hook-up buddy (Jason Day) is in love with another woman who refuses to have sex with him. The chain reaction of sexual encounters rangers from person to person, touching on each person’s own fetishes and experimentation with sexuality. With conversations that don’t seem scripted at all, the characters give a naturally believable feel to each instance, revealing a panorama of emotions and lifestyles.

But with such a broad range of diverse personalities (and sexual partners), the central theme becomes as hard to pinpoint as the names of the people each character slept with. Sure, they all end up having sex. Sure, they’re each their own person trying to get what he or she wants, emotionally or physically. But the overabundance of the constant, casual sex put through the lens of a “day-in-the-life” style downplays the potential energy in each of the characters’ lives. What you think is going to be a movie about finding the right person to have sex with turns into a movie about casual hookups. Then what you think is going to be a movie about friends with benefits turns into one about exploring one’s sexuality. Right when you think the movie’s headed in that direction, it switches again.

Essentially, what could have been a movie with a unifying theme ended up being one that is Sexual but Theme-Deprived. That’s not to say that the diversity of characters was a negative aspect; the diversity definitely allowed people to relate to the movie itself. However, “30 Beats” tried too hard to cram the diverse personalities of too many people into one movie. With too many partners and too many themes, it’s no wonder that “30 Beats” is an STD.

**** NOTE: This movie is Rated R ****