"WHEN I remember Lisa, I don't think about her clothes or her work, or where she was from, or even what she said," says glaciologist Matt, as he travels over the disappearing Antarctic.

The chances are that you won't either: not travel over the Antarctic, but remember what American student Lisa wore, or said or did.

9 Songs is the "most sexually explicit film in the history of mainstream British cinema", going that little bit further than Kerry Fox and Mark Rylance in Patrice Chereau's Intimacy in 2001. Michael Winterbottom gave us sex and drugs and rock'n'roll in 24 Hour Party People, and now he does so again, in an attempt to film sex as naturally as possible.

Matt (dull Kieran O'Brien), the taciturn glaciologist, meets Lisa (a tentative Margot Stilley) at a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club gig in autumn 2003; they go home to his scruffy place; they have sex; they go to another gig at the Brixton Academy; and so the pattern repeats itself with a tick list of student sexual initiation, in the bath, in the kitchen, in hotels, always with condoms, sometimes on coke.

They say little and have little to say, the dialogue being unscripted, awkward, tedious and no better than a porn movie (er, so I'm led to believe).

Even Matt's desolate flashback reflections are trite, as Winterbottom's elliptical plot seeks to draw comparisons between the "beautiful, egotistical, careless and crazy" Lisa and the wonder and disintegration of Antarctica.

No humour passes across this earnest film. Despite all that ice, Snow Patrol are not among the bands that Winterbottom films with the same, raw, hand-held camerawork and uninhibited joy in performance. Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, Von Bondies and The Dandy Warhols break up the grunts and moans, but music is not the food of love here.

9 Songs is a private pleasure for Winterbottom, a grind for the cast, and nothing more than arthouse porn for the audience. Like Lisa, wear a blindfold; it may be more fun that way.

Updated: 08:59 Friday, March 25, 2005