Set in 1950s Appalachia, James Carpenter’s totally rad masterwork of comedic literary fiction plumbs the depths of the human condition through everymen Chuck and Hank’s post-vasectomy quest for twenty ejaculations—the number the doctor says they need before they can be pronounced sterile. (BTW: It would have been nice if he had told them that before he sliced their scrotums open.) Eager to get there as quickly as they can so they won’t have to use rubbers anymore (who wouldn’t be?), they employ quite different strategies.
Because Chuck’s wife has been uncharacteristically frosty of late, he expedites his count through stealthy self-pleasuring. Hank uses his indoor toilet to entice an old girlfriend to temporarily move in with him.
Via skillfully rendered tropes rife with traditional irony, postmodern parody, and a whole slew of other really smart devices, Carpenter deftly guides his guys through misfortunes that would crush less courageous men: Mean-spirited doctors and nurses, judgmental preachers, nasty prudish neighbors, an inexplicable out-of-wedlock pregnancy, a red-headed Faulkner scholar from Mississippi with rugged good looks to die for, and a mailbox stuffed with dog poop. But in the end true love finds a way that isn’t at all Hollywood. Okay, it’s a little bit Hollywood, but in a dazzlingly iconoclastic way!