'Sex With Strangers' review: Chemistry lesson

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For a while in "Sex With Strangers," it seems that Chicago playwright Laura Eason is setting up an unusual and provocative relationship between a disappointed serious novelist (Anna Gunn, Walter's wife in "Breaking Bad") and a young hunk (the irrepressible Billy Magnussen) who writes best-selling Internet books about his casual liaisons. He shows up at a rural writers' retreat, slowly revealing how much he knows about her and her work. Major chemistry ensues.

But so does suspense, which dissipates until, in the second act, we get a lecture about online-versus-books and a cop-out ending. David Schwimmer, who has been directing at least as much as acting since "Friends" disbanded, allows his characters to get phonier as the stakes get bigger.

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WHAT "Sex with Strangers"

WHERE Second Stage Theatre, 305 W. 43rd St.

INFO $65-$89; 212-246-4422; 2st.com

BOTTOM LINE Sex more seductive than drama

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