My friend, Patty, with whom I saw Spanglish, has been bugging me mightily (albeit nicely) about seeing Kinsey, mainly because she wanted to know if she was the only one who found it a little, er, hard to get into. I am sorry to report that she is not alone in her experience; for a film that's all about bringing sex to the forefront, Kinsey is decidedly unsexy. It just floats along on its pretty pictures and clever editing (although the retro/CGI montage of the Kinsey team's data-collecting trek across America was pretty disturbing, visually) and nice Carter Burwell soundtrack. No teeth, no electricity, no surprises and a bizarre, wearying kind of self-importance. Did someone decide that dialing up the pomposity would make a big, bad s-e-x movie go down better (sorry) with a still-Puritannical American audience? I don't know how true-to-life Kinsey is, but I'm of the opinion that you either play fast and loose with the facts and make a great fucking film or you hew to them like a maniac and make a great fucking documentary.
Other than that, I'm not exactly sure why Kinsey doesn't work. The script seems sound enough, there are more great performances than you can shake a stick at and Kinsey's own trajectory is a pretty fascinating one. I'm frankly baffled, because I thought director Bill Condon's Gods and Monsters was a superb film, thought-provoking, moving and finely calibrated in its emotional portrayals. And it was a period piece, too, although it felt timeless where Kinsey feels more like it belongs alongside the bloated, bland Hollywood epics of the time it documents.
Ultimately, I'm just not interested in analyzing exactly where Kinsey falls down. I'd rather revisit the 11-year-old Ed Wood or Crumb or the 15-year-old Reversal of Fortune for a fifth time (each) than watch this logy, lumbering Quaalude of a mid-century throwback again.