Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, ...
Credit: KINSEY: Ken Regan/Camera 5

For a movie completely about sex, it’s surprising that what Kinsey lacks most is passion. Not to imply that the film should be all about insane orgies and booty-starved horndogs, but this depiction of Dr. Alfred Kinsey and his work as a sex researcher is so cold and clinical, it’s difficult to get too excited — no, not in that way — by anything you see. Outside of some occasional sniping with a colleague and begging for money to finance his project, Liam Neeson is rather robotic as the driven scientist. Even his prickly relationship with his preacher father (John Lithgow) and first act of infidelity/homosexuality come across as sort of ho-hum. Maybe that’s the point, but it makes it pretty damn hard to attach yourself emotionally to either the characters or the plot.

Where some of that passion is expressed is in the bonus materials. While the 21 deleted scenes (including some that play up Kinsey’s gruff side, as well as a rather limp — again, not in that way — alternate ending) are moderately interesting, and the interactive sex questionnaire is…um, revealing, the 80-minute Kinsey Report: Sex on Film documentary is downright fantastic. Covering the sexual histories of cast and crew, the film’s relationship with the Kinsey Institute (which, maintaining its strict confidentiality code, refused to share the doctor’s research videos with writer-director Bill Condon), how to deal with protesters on set (give ’em coffee and doughnuts) and bamboozle the studio into getting an extra day of filming (tell ’em you need to shoot a teaser), the doc showcases all the unbridled enthusiasm that went into making the movie. Too bad more of it didn’t spill onto the screen.

  • Movie
  • 118 minutes