Sarah Jones’ sex-work-focused show “Sell/Buy/Date” opened on Broadway in 2016 to massive critical acclaim, with Time Out calling it a “one-woman orgy of provocative ideas.” With Meryl Streep executive producing, Jones has converted the stage show into a film that blends documentary sections with scripted sketches featuring characters created and played by the Tony-winning Jones. All of them, presumably, are learning about the sex industry. The movie, which hit SXSW earlier this year to more positive praise, also includes interviews with Rosario Dawson, Bryan Cranston, and Ilana Glazer. It will be in theaters October 14th and VOD November 8th.
The trailer is…weird. Watching it, it’s unclear that the movie has been made yet, because they keep talking about making the movie. It also sells the movie as being about the movie somehow — an extension of a stage show, but not the stage show, concerned primarily about the controversy the stage show caused without explaining what the controversy was supposed to be.
Throw in some wacky characters, and it’s the ninth circle of profound confusion.
For those not wanting to research, the stage show involved Jones spending three years interviewing sex workers and others involved in the industry, and the controversy stems from sex workers who are critical of Jones’ show. That criticism continued when the production was announced, with backlash strong enough that Laverne Cox backed out of being an executive producer. The backlash has also has apparently made its way into the film itself, and this trailer really wants to preemptively strike against future criticism. Sell/Buy/Date may be great, but the trailer has big “eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour” energy.