Haley Joel Osment made a name for himself in the 1990s as a child actor. He was Forrest Gump’s son in 1994 and he “saw dead people” in 1999’s The Sixth Sense. Since then, he’s dabbled in film and television, most recently in the dark Tusk. This year has also seen the young actor in a bit of departure from “normal” roles. That film in question is Sex Ed and it is a raunchy but surprisingly sweet comedy that features Osment in the lead role. It’s smart, sexy and downright cute. It also showcases Osment in a new and very welcome way: charming leading man.
Sex Ed centers on Eddie Cole (Osment), a teacher struggling to find work. He is also a virgin, so he is a little stressed to say the least. One day, out of frustration and sheer persistence, he scores a job at an inner city middle school supervising the after school program. He soon learns that his students have no form of sexual education, so Eddie takes it upon himself to implement his own form of sex ed. This soon infuriates the local Reverend (Chris Williams) as well as some parents. Eddie may mean well but his noble actions have the opposite effect on certain people. And to complicate matters even more, Eddie finds himself smitten with Pilar (Lorenza Izzo), the older sister of one of his students.
Osment is great in this. He’s the innocent hero in this quirky comedy and it’s very difficult not to be taken by his performance. It’s actually the stuff of pure comedy gold. The supporting cast of students is also worth noting since most of them also pretty much steal the show. The film is a little similar to School of Rock in that respect and it is certainly welcomed. Lorenza Izzo (The Green Inferno, Aftershock) while beautiful isn’t the best actress. Her steamy temptress to Eddie is just what the film needs. Her chemistry with him is a little forced but it works here and there. Glen Powell (The Expendables 3, The Dark Knight Rises) plays J.T., Eddie’s ridiculously over-the-top and sexually-charged roommate/friend. It seems as though he’s mimicking American Pie’s Stifler here and he seems like a simple stock character. Basically, he’s unnecessary.
Sex Ed while not an Academy Award-wining piece of cinematic art, is a fun little film with strong performances. Osment is delightful and very likable in the main role. Here’s hoping he takes on similar roles in the future. House of Cards scribe Bill Kennedy has written a fantastically raunchy script for Sex Ed. It is sexy but at the same time, tasteful and full of quick wit. The man definitely knows how to write comedy and Sex Ed is solid proof of that. With a relatively good cast (led by Osment) and this sharp script, this film should provide ample entertainment on cold Saturday night. It’s nice to see Osment in a role like this. It really allows the actor to spread his wings.