By Don Simpson | June 4, 2013
Director: Diego Kaplan
Writers: Juan Vera, Daniel Cúparo
Starring: Adrián Suar, Carla Peterson, Julieta Díaz, Juan Minujín, Alfredo Casero, Tomás Wicz
In the United States when you get caught driving while intoxicated, you are promptly arrested, fined and sentenced to do community service — oh, and your license will probably get suspended too. While watching Diego Kaplan’s film 2 + 2, I learned that in Argentina the police just ask you to get out of your car and walk home. Of course this is not meant to be the final takeaway from the film, but it does function as a clever precursor to another expression of personal freedom, the swapping of sexual partners.
Richard (Juan Minujín) and Diego (Adrián Suar) are best friends. They have known each other for 15 years and have co-owned a highly regarded heart clinic for ten years. Diego is married to Emilia (Julieta Díaz), with whom he has one child, Lucas (Tomás Wicz). Richard and Bettina (Carla Peterson) have been together for about ten years, but they are still unmarried and childless. While Emilia and Diego have given in to the monotony of monogamy, Bettina and Richard have kept their love life fresh with polyamory. The term “swingers” is batted around quite a few times in reference to Bettina and Richard; they like to go to parties, swap partners and watch each other have sex with other people. They are open and honest with each other and their extracurricular relationships are all consensual. As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life.
Emilia recognizes that she and Diego have hit a dry spell in their relationship, so she is almost immediately up for trying something new. Diego’s moral fiber, on the other hand, is much too conservative; but as the title of the film suggests, the two couples eventually pair up into a quad. Everyone is having fun until Emilia and Richard begin to see each other on their own, thus breaking the code of the group. As it turns out, once sex with another partner becomes a secret, that is when it is defined as cheating.
2 + 2 compares the effects that monogamy and promiscuity can have on long term relationships, while also contemplating the relationship between sexual intimacy and emotional closeness. 2 + 2 could have been a much more interesting film if it continued to discuss the benefits of poly relationships, but instead it goes down the overly predictable path of preaching monogamy. Don’t get me wrong, I have never been in a poly relationship in my life; but I do know couples who — like Richard and Bettina — have been happily poly for very long periods of time. While practically every other film in the history of cinema seems to preach the message of heterosexual monogamy, it would have been refreshing to experience another viewpoint for once.
At the risk of sounding like a pervert, what surprises me most about 2 + 2 is its lack of nudity. There is not denying that this is a film about S-E-X, yet Kaplan seems scared to death to show any naked bodies. As the film progresses and Kaplan finds different ways to cut away from sex scenes, 2 + 2 grows increasingly puritanical in its perspective of intercourse. I was not in search of a porn film, but I did expect 2 + 2 to portray sex in a more open and honest manner; instead, it is as if the prudish Diego directed this film.