The Birds & The Bees: Josh Stolberg’s Conception
By Noah Michelson
Conception, Josh Stolberg’s latest film, is a semen-filled narrative that teeters between softcore porn and a public service announcement. Following the lives of nine couples on the night they conceive a newborn, each uniquely dysfunctional tale is independent from the other plot lines. Subsequently, the varied characters only exist within that single moment of fertilization and are not dragged down by unnecessary back-story. Utilizing off-screen couples and awkward depictions of sexual intercourse, Conception maintains a poignant sense of realism.
Characters highlighted within Conception range from a naïve teenager whose promise to stop consuming meat leads to a girlfriend's cherry-infused sacrifice, to a crazed married couple who must place sex on their chore wheel to keep the intrigue intact, to a look at a pair of lesbians partners on the night they receive their donor’s sperm. The latter of the which, since no physical sex is showcased, displays candid fear matched with simple sarcasm. One of the lesbians is played by Pamela Adlon -- known for portraying the voice of Bobby on King of the Hill and as Marcy Runkle on Californication – who dominates the movie as a headstrong woman who forgoes pregnancy in deference to her quieter partner.
The movie is inspired by the director’s wife’s conception that occurred during a tumultuous fight. Due to hormone therapy, sex could not be placed on hold and they had to resist their bickering for a little late night lovin’. With an all-star cast that includes Julie Bowen from Modern Family, Connie Britton from Friday Night Lights and Alan Tudky from Broadway’s Epic Proportions, Conception was named “Best of the Fest” at the Palm Beach International Film Festival and opens April 6th at the Beverly Hills Film Festival.
Oh, and did I mention that David Arquette makes a cameo appearance? And, he looks astonishingly hot and surprisingly well dressed. Beyond the miracle of birth, this miracle is also of Biblical proportions.
-- COURTNEY NICHOLS