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‘Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn’ review: Powerful Romanian film defies categorization

Hard to explain.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn begins with a warning about its strong sexual content. It does not take long for the Romanian comedy-drama to make good on its promise. The first ten minutes or so are filled with some of the most sexually explicit scenes this side of Pornhub. It is incredibly shocking and makes audiences wonder what they have gotten themselves into. The film aims to be much more than just a sex comedy, however. 

The story is about a schoolteacher named Ema who has found herself in trouble with the parents association after a personal sex tape is uploaded to the internet. As the outraged group pushes for her dismal, Ema decides she is going to fight back. What follows is a thoughtful script about sexuality, gender, freedom, and responsibility. 

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Loony Porn is split into three chapters (not counting the sex tape in the opening). The first follows Ema as she walks through Bucharest. This is where the film starts to show it will be something different. Things are lighthearted; there are oddball encounters and bizarre characters seen during the walk. Unlike many comedies, things move at a deliberate pace allowing for each set piece to sink in.

This is because it is also clearly a commentary on Romanian society. There are snippets of conversation that range from theories about COVID to racist and anti-Semitic comments heard in the background. Loony Porn shows a country that is in flux, caught between dealing with modern problems while clinging to Old World thinking. There is almost a documentarian feel that seems to want the audience to think and laugh.

The second act is essentially a history lesson on Romania. Entitled “A Short Dictionary of Anecdotes, Signs, and Wonders”, the twenty minute long section is essentially a slideshow depicting various events since World War II. This includes shots of WWII genocide, scenes of fascism, and a graphic oral sex sequence. It is a neat idea that is only loosely connected to the rest of Loony Porn.

Everything comes together in the final act. Ema is put on trial in front of the parents in a mix of great commentary and humor. The entire scene is a little long, but it is in these moments that the message becomes truly global. It is bitter, ugly, and funny and much of what is said can fit in the context of American society. Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn defies categorization, but it is imminently watchable.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn comes to theaters November 19

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