The plot of Is That A Gun in Your Pocket? is loosely based on the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata.” It was written and first performed in 411 BC. It’s interesting to see how little has changed in that men and women still lock horns over what the other considers to be best for their family and also in the way we entertain one another.
In the play, Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands until they negotiate peace and end the Peloponnesian War. Using the theme of a 2,000-year-old sex comedy works for what the women of this small Texas town want from their men. These are strong values to stand on and the film does a good job of giving the audience both point of views. The comedy chafe’s the brain a few times as some scenes are not only too contrived but sophomoric, however, in the long run, it’s worth a watch for the number of times you’ll chuckle at this battle the sexes.
In Rockford, Texas, guns are the order of the day. This is set up in several ways. Pay special attention to the titles playing at the theatre for the wittiest of them. This little borough of 6,969 people is calm and quiet almost idyllic, in fact, and everyone seems happy on the surface yet deep down brews a silent soldier in the form of resentment. The women speak of it and make fun of men in group chats; the men do the same behind the backs of their wives or girlfriends, mostly while hunting. What is this resentment based on? Their sex lives. Their sex lives couldn’t be staler if it were a cracker from 1991 found this morning behind the refrigerator. As if it were a sketch comedy show, writer/ director, Matt Cooper (Perfect Opposites, The Last Supper) gives us set up after set up and joke after joke of men and women pinned against one another, all charged up and in full battle mode. Some japes in this comedy do land better than others but if you don’t take the subject too seriously, the touchdown is a lot less bumpy.
Married couple, Glenn (Passmore) and Jenna (Anders), and seemingly the rest of the town, are having problems in the marital bed. After their son takes a loaded gun to school and accidentally discharges some bullets, Jenna decides to take some of her unspent energy out on a cause. That cause is to rid the town of guns altogether. Glenn is against this and before you know it, the frustrated couple decides on one thing… neither will give in. She talks her girlfriends into helping her take a stand for something she feels is important to her after she learns that guns contribute the most to the death of children… above everything else. She explains that gun violence can end by removing the reason it exists… guns. The women agree and the men aren’t going to have it. So, the fairer sex comes up with the one thing that’s sure to break the men… they’ll close their legs until the guns are gone.
When the men hold up surprisingly well and are still not giving in, the women decide to turn up the heat. This is also when Cooper turns up the funny. These gals play some dirty tricks on these unsuspecting lads. I’ll let you discover those when you watch the film. As the title alone might suggest, there are some really fun moments that will hook you into the lampoonery you’ll find in Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?; like the revelation of a vibrator thought to have been a candlestick, a man crying because his ak47 is painted pink and the men wishing the women would have had a talking strike instead of a sex strike.
It’s slow to get going at first but hang in there. Laughing at jokes aimed at your sex, whether you think they’re completely accurate or not, is healthy. If you can do that you’re going to be entertained. There’s some really funny dialogue delivered by Cloris Leachman’s character, as well, such as suggesting that, ‘There is nothing more powerful than p*ssy.’ But her dirty old lady was a bit overused. Had she said only a few filthy things, I believe the declaration of that particular line would have had a much bigger impact. That said, when Horatio Sanz says, ‘Hell hath no fury like a Latina scorned,’ I hope you don’t have a drink in your mouth. My suggestion is to see this crazy little movie and don’t worry so much about the politics mentioned within. Whether you agree with the stance within or not you’ll laugh if you let yourself. You’ll like the characters once you get to know them and you’ll want to see where the story is leading. You truly care for them and what they’re standing up for and it’s also hard not to like this wonderful cast; there’s hardly a name you won’t recognize.