Entertainment

Netflix's 'Sexify' Is Sexy Without Much Substance

The new Polish series aims for women's sexual empowerment, but doesn't fully land its promise.

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

It’s one of the most clichéd, yet tried-and-true marketing mantras when it comes to peddling products or attracting consumers to services: Sex sells. Advertising has long been filled with sexual innuendos, and over the past decade, TV shows have daringly followed suit. If you’ve seen any huge series that fall somewhere between Game of Thrones, Euphoria, and Netflix’s controversial movie 365 Days, you already know how sexually explicit and gratuitous TV can be. That’s exactly why Netflix’s new Polish series Sexify falls flat-viewers have already been there and done that. 

Starring Aleksandra Skraba, Sandra Drzymalska, and Maria Sobocinska, Sexify is about an ambitious college student’s efforts to develop a game-changing app for both her graduation project and an all-important tech competition. After being advised that her fine-tuned sleep optimizing app isn’t “sexy” enough, Natalia (Skraba) eventually lands on the idea to design an app, called Sexify, that simplifies the female orgasm.Natalia enlists the help of her friends Monika (Drzymalska) and Paulina (Sobocinska) to get the innovative sex-focused app up and running, and they learn about the caveats of female pleasure, try to help other women have better sex, and ultimately learn more about their respective sexual identities in their journey. If you’re thinking to yourself that Sexify‘s premise sounds eerily familiar, you’re right-Netflix has already charted similar territory with Sex Education

To be fair, both of the streaming service’s original series have their own unique styles and distinct storylines, but Sexify feels deflated in contrast to its contemporary because its eclectic style completely overpowers its narrative elements. Rather than proving to viewers that there’s more to the female orgasm than they originally thought, Sexify assumes that viewers, like its characters, will be content as long as vibrant sexual imagery is front and center; but unlike its characters, viewers can escape the world of Sexify with the touch of a button.

Quite frankly, there are several points over the show’s eight episodes that offer an opportunity to do just that. The first half of the season drags its feet by having the characters run in narrative circles, and by the third episode, the ragtag Sexify team has disbanded and reunited too many times to count. From the relentless and repetitive soundtrack-which is often awkwardly-timed despite boasting an admittedly impressive and diverse assortment of hip-hop-inspired beats-to the general lack of direction that the dramedy’s plot suffers from, Sexify regularly gets lost in its own sauce. If the exhausting 50-minute episodes were trimmed down and the show was more focused overall, the show would be much more of a joy to watch, and the second half of the season-in which three out of the four episodes had a runtime of 40 minutes or less-gets significantly more enjoyable.

Netflix
Netflix
Netflix

There are some amazing plot points and characters that would have truly shined had they been executed better. Paulina’s side mission to find the perfect balance between satisfying her sexual needs, following her religion, and figuring out whether her engagement was worth saving quickly became one of the most compelling storylines of the entire season. Even Natalia’s unwavering appetite for success appears to be rooted in some underlying family drama that definitely should have been unpacked further. Plus, secondary characters like Natalia’s easygoing college adviser Dr. Krynicki (Wojciech Solarz) and the shady dorm supervisor (Ewa Szykulska) brought some of the funniest blink-and-you-miss it moments. 

With such a promising premise and several unresolved storylines, there’s still a possibility that Sexify can make some vast improvements in a potential second season and be a show that stands tall amongst its contemporaries. For now, however, the first season of Netflix’s new original series tries to win viewers over with a gimmicky portrayal of sex, and that alone won’t be enough to sell TV enthusiasts on this middling Polish drama. Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor to Thrillist.

Entertainment

Why the Shocking Twist in 'Bodies Bodies Bodies' Is So Killer

The A24 horror-comedy has a lot to say about how logged on we are today.

A24
A24
A24

This story contains spoilers about the ending of Bodies, Bodies, Bodies.Even if you’ve tried to game the TikTok algorithm to feed you videos from #fashiontok, #foodtok, or whatever else you might be interested in, when you open the app, you tend to be inundated with a whole lot of discourse. In many ways, it’s incredible how attuned young people are in knowing who they are and how comfortable they are having frank conversations. But in other ways, sometimes it can feel like quick-hit platforms have a tendency to deduce real issues or strip things of their meanings-whether that’s teens self-diagnosing themselves with mental illness, or people labelling musicians as “female or male manipulator artists” without ever listening to their music.

A24’s latest horror comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies (out now in theatres) about a group of 20-somethings partying during a hurricane that turns into a hunt for a killer is like a movie downloaded from the current millennial-Gen-Z cusp moment of the internet we’re in. When the trailer for the movie directed by Halina Reijn and written by Sarah DeLappe, based on a story from “Cat Person” author Kristen Roupenian, dropped earlier this year, it made that very clear. In just over a minute and a half, we hear the cast of cool girl breakouts yelling, “You’re always gaslighting me,” “you fucking trigger me,” “you’re so toxic,” and “you’re silencing me.” Even the movie’s tagline is, “This is not a safe space.”

Bodies Bodies Bodies is very much logged onto millennial/Gen Z social media-isms throughout, from lines hilariously pieced together by the Twitter zeitgeist to scenes featuring TikTok dances. The movie operates on a delectable kind of slasher-movie paranoia, making the audience just as unsure as the slumber party gone wrong with who is killing them off left and right. But given how much of a playful satire it is of contemporary youth culture, it ends up being a twist that feels all but inevitable, and couldn’t be more razor-blade sharp.

A24
A24
A24

Once the torrential downpour stops and the sun comes up, it seems as if Maria Bakalova‘s Bee is about to be our Bodies Bodies Bodies final girl, now that she’s realized how much her relationship with Sophia (Amandla Stenberg) is based on lies. As a test to see how easily Sophie can lie-and therefore deny killing all of her friends from midnight until dawn-Bee asks her if she cheated on her with Myha’la Herrold’s Jordan. It’s a fact that Bee already knows to be true, considering she came across a pair of panties in Sophie’s car that matched a bra she noticed in Jordan’s bag. When Sophie denies it, Bee tries to take her phone (which Jordan admitted would have texts about their recent hook-up on it), and the two start fighting outside in the remnants of the storm. Bee eventually pulls a phone out of the mud, and it looks like the WiFi and cell phone service that was gone all night is finally back. Thinking she’ll pull up the evidence she needs-and confirmation to get the hell out of there-she’s surprised when Sophie says, “That’s not my phone,” and even more surprised to see what’s on it.

It turns out that it belongs to David, Pete Davidson’s coked-out rich kid character whose parents’ house they’re partying at and was the first one to die in the movie. They know it’s David’s phone because it opens to a TikTok, soundtracked by the lockdown classic TikTok song “Bored In The House” by Curtis Roach and Tyga, that shows him waving around his dad’s decorative but very real sword (!) to try to open a champagne bottle (!), idiotically waving it towards himself, only to slice right into his own neck. As it turns out, nobody killed David-not an intruder, not Jordan, not Sophie, not Alice’s (Rachel Sennott) older boyfriend Greg (Lee Pace) she knew nothing about (except for the fact that he was a Libra moon), and not their friend Max (Conner O’Malley) who left early the night before. David accidentally killed himself, and hysteria is what killed everybody else. You could say that it’s almost predictable that it turns out to be a clout-chasing TikTok that led to the movie’s murderous spiral of events. Although, that would undercut what Reijn and DeLappe are trying to say with the darkly funny movie with an especially dark, funny twist. Like TikTok or Twitter, the movie is a constant feed of discourse, buzzwords, and blanket statements that snarkily laugh at and with its ensemble. There are many moments in particular that drive this home-like Alice trying to be sympathetic in talking about mental health, only to make the conversation about her, and David ridiculing his girlfriend Emma (Chase Sui Wonders) for getting all of her thoughts from Twitter after she says he “gaslights” her. On top of that, David picks up the sword and tries to go viral to begin with because his masculinity felt threatened by Greg, who did the trick in the first place.

While it would be downright terrifying if a party with people who are supposedly your best friends turned into a slasher flick, in Bodies Bodies Bodies, the horror isn’t a vengeful or heartless killer. Everybody may become a psychopath of sorts when they feel physically threatened or legitimately toxic name-calling and backstabbing ensues, but Bodies Bodies Bodies and its devilish twist is about the humour and horror in the devoid way we can use social media today more than anything else. Like Sophie and Bee’s terrified realization at the end, it makes you want to log off for awhile… right after you post a 100K-worthy tweet about it.

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Sadie Bell is the entertainment associate editor at Thrillist. She’s on Twitter and Instagram.

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