THE LIFESTYLE: Group Sex in the Suburbs is a sympathetic documentary that graphically probes deep inside the sordid world of Middle-American sex parties only to find loving, open-minded couples who, aside from playing major league slap- and-tickle, are no different from your grandparents.

The subjects of the film have found that recreational sex works for them, and the filmmakers capture their air of easy confidence. Without proselytizing, the swingers suggest that most of the world's problems are rooted in sexual hang-ups. Their untroubled faces and candid speech are testament to the fact that, like bonobo apes, they have replaced anger and resentment with casual fucking (and barbecue). In interviews spanning a couple of years, seven couples describe their first experiences, and in all but one case, their enthusiastic embrace of wife-swapping and group sex. We are shown around their homes (each one more hideously decorated than the last), and then welcomed into the sex parties themselves. No holds are barred.

Director David Schisgall was apparently surprised to find "no dark side" to the swinging scene, and he treats these old reprobates with great affection. As the swingers describe themselves and their culture, and their parties play out across the screen, one cannot help but feel that these normal, well-adjusted, middle-class people banging away at each other are really at the vanguard of a radical social and political movement. They certainly feel that they are, and the filmmaker clearly feels that way, too. But the film takes it on faith that free love will make a better world, and assumes that because these are mostly nice people, lots of sex makes people nice.

There are, apparently, three million registered members of "The Lifestyle" nationwide, and most of them probably have "sexy Grandpa" bumper stickers on their RVs. That said, it's alternately hysterical, heart-warming, and deeply troubling to watch senior citizens have group sex, and anyone who loves America should by all means see this film.

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