John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy combine to turn a potentially weepy/grotesque story into a humorous, genuinely reassuring drama about making the best of an unfortunate situation. Hawkes portrays Mark O’Brien, a thirtyish paralyzed man who hires a professional sexual surrogate (Hunt) to give him his first sexual experience, on the advice of his spiritual counselor, a Roman Catholic priest (Macy). Not exactly the most appetizing scenario in outline, but the playing of the three principals, armed with witty dialogue by writer-director Ben Lewin (a longtime TV hand), turns it into one of the sweetest stories imaginable. Set in Berkeley and based on true events. (95 min.)
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