Rocking the Couch (2018)

There’s undeniably a need for an incisive, well-researched documentary on the epidemic of sexual assault in Hollywood. Unfortunately, Rocking the Couch is not that film.

This is a well-intended but uncomfortably amateurish attempt to leverage the #MeToo movement into an attack on the ineffectiveness of acting agencies and guilds to protect actors. That’s an argument I’m sympathetic to, but it’s entirely undercut by Rocking the Couch’s many incoherencies. Half-hearted Hollywood history lessons are intercut with stories of abuse or defence attorneys offering informercials about the particulars of sexual assault vs battery. Also featured: clumsy narration (a male narrator; not the best choice), awkward green-screen and chintzy re-enactments.

The documentary’s one compelling section – the retelling of talent agent Wallace Kaye’s 1993 conviction for sexual assault – not only feels disconnected from the larger film, it’s undercut by director Minh Collins’ baffling decision to try to present ‘both sides’ of the issue. The aforementioned lawyer interludes imply that women are responsible for the lack of convictions. A number of actors – one is inexplicably credited as an “Executive Producer” – suggest or straight-up state that young women are partly to blame, given their readiness to trade their bodies for roles. A baffling, borderline misogynistic misfire.

1 star

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