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‘How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town’ neither sexy nor funny

Sex columnist Cassie (Jewel Staite, center) encourages her old friends to refute their uptight reputation in “How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town.” | GRAVITAS VENTURES

Despite its provocative title, “How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town” isn’t particularly sexy.

More troubling, it’s not very funny either.

Like “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” and “Live Nude Girls,” “How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town” is much less titillating and shocking than the title suggests.

Writer-director Jeremy Lalonde starts things off on a sour and mean-spirited note when teenager Cassie Cranston (Zoe Cleland) is slut-shamed out of a party wearing just bra and panties. (As a teary-eyed Cassie gets kicked out of the party, the girls call her “whore” and the boys leer and refuse to help her. Nice group of kids.)

By the time Zoe makes it home, her shrew of a mother (Lauren Holly) has gotten wind of Cassie’s “streaking,” and when Cassie tells mom she’s been through a horrible experience, her mother berates her — leading Cassie to take her off her top and run through the streets of Beaver’s Ridge, and yes, that’s the name of this backwards little town.

Cut to a decade and a half later. Cassie (now played by Jewel Staite) is a successful sex columnist who returns home for her mother’s funeral.

The townsfolk aren’t exactly thrilled about Cassie’s homecoming, seeing as how Cassie has used them as material in her columns, depicting them as self-righteous, sexually uptight, judgmental prudes.

So naturally Cassie challenges her former high school “friends” to prove her wrong; how about an orgy? Who’s in!

Potential participants include Cassie’s former boyfriend Adam (Ennis Esmer), now married to the nasty Heather (Lauren Lee Smith), who led the charge to get Cassie kicked out of that party all those years ago; the horny Bruce (Mark O’Brien); the wisecracking Polly (Tommie Amber-Pirie) and a video-game geek (Kristian Bruun), among others.

Lalonde’s script alternates between broad shtick, often set to cheeky pop music that only serves to hammer home the overacting and the stagey sequences, and “heavy” moments of truth that feel clunky and forced.

When the orgy is finally set in motion, it’s not hot and it’s not hilarious. “How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town” reaches its low point with a montage of extreme close-ups of the faces of the participants, with every single actor wildly overplaying their attempts at conveying sexual ecstasy.

Talk about faking it.

★1⁄2

Gravitas Ventures presents a film written and directed by Jeremy LaLonde. Running time: 101 minutes. No MPAA rating. Opens Friday at AMC Loews Woodridge 18 and on demand.