The Brave New Workshop has cast its jaundiced eye once again on all things love- and romance-related. How to Make Love Like a Minnesotan III is almost surely the weakest of the trilogy (thus emulating the arc of the X-Men and Matrix films), and while it evokes more than a few laughs, it may well be time to put the series to bed.
There are flashes of what this crew are capable of, though the greatest bulls-eye ("I Guess You'll Have to Do," an office-romance duet between Ellie Hino and Josh Eakright that positively oozes futility and sickly romantic compromise) is recycled from a previous show. A blistering parody of eHarmony probes similar territory, depicting a diseased relationship blooming its sickly petals through internet dating.
But other material has a whiff of ideas going stale. A sketch about women's tempestuous behavior during menstruation can hardly be offered up as something fresh, and a gimmicky sequence about the sounds different people make during sex (accountants go ka-ching, get it?) lands with a decided thud despite the deployment of Joe Bozic's sturdy grinning perv persona.
There are always moments of a transgressive spirit when this ensemble gets together, and this show is no exception. At one point Hino declares a dessert so creamy and delicious that she wants to fuck it, and Mike Fotis uncorks an offhand observation that he will never find perfect romantic bliss "because of the way I look." Hino and Bobby Gardner, via a weird photo essay, find the only real love of the night, by way of an impromptu crime spree.
There are a couple of ironies in catching just about every BNW show of the past six years. The first is that the non-critic part of me has become an unabashed fan, eagerly settling into the theater's homely confines, loving that familiar ninety-minutes-with-intermission format. The second is that the critical part of me has gotten so particular that anything less than near-greatness feels like a wider miss than it would otherwise. How to Make Love Like a Minnesotan is an OK show, then, but at this point that truly doesn't feel like enough.
How to Make Love Like a Minnesotan III: The Full Montevideo plays through May 8. Tickets are available at 612.332.6620 or by clicking here.