review for The Oh in Ohio on AllMovie

The Oh in Ohio (2006)
by Derek Armstrong review

If it weren't for the bizarre romantic pairing of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Dame Helen Mirren in Shadowboxer, Danny DeVito and Parker Posey would certainly qualify as the weirdest screen couple of 2006. Yes, revealing their relationship technically qualifies as a spoiler, since it develops late in the second act of The Oh in Ohio. But this assumes the film actually deserves the common courtesy of having its secrets kept, which is highly debatable. Right down to indie staple Posey, The Oh in Ohio has all the ingredients for a quirky, light-hearted indie relationship movie, centered on one uptight woman's search for her elusive sexual release. But Billy Kent's film is faking it just as much as his heroine is. A chirpy soundtrack notwithstanding, it's a surprisingly mean-spirited movie, in which two men engage in wish-fulfillment affairs with women 20 years younger, including a high-school teacher with one of his own students. Yet, because Mischa Barton's ambitious teen is portrayed with an almost predatory sense of self-possession, her dalliance with Paul Rudd's unhinged educator gets glossed over as normal, even acceptable. The romance between Posey and DeVito proceeds along more tender and typically Hollywood lines, but it's so visually incongruous that the screenwriter -- or at least the casting director -- seems downright naïve. It's not that people who make decisions like these don't exist in the real world, but that Kent doesn't present them honestly. They don't carry a shade of nuance, and his bluntly expository dialogue doesn't help matters. Perhaps most tragic, in terms of squandering an interesting idea, is that Posey's sexual frustration gets resolved without much humor or narrative catharsis -- without a climax, if you will. The Oh in Ohio gets credit for a clever title, and little else.