The latest film from Gary Sanchez Productions, founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, centers around four friends who have a special bong they use only when one of them has sex for the first time, a ritual they call "The Virginity Hit."
"I'm gonna do for your virginity what Alfred Hitchcock did for birds!" Zack tells his adoptive brother Matt early in this crass, sophomoric romp that is made to look like a collection of documentary footage as well as video shot with cell phones and other such devices -- imagine a 21st Century "Blair Witch," if the witch were a feverishly under-sexed geek.
The film is a free-wheeling celebration of teens getting loaded and laid, in the proud tradition of "Porky's" and "American Pie." The boys in the film are a fairly honest portrait of your typical adolescent male: self-centered, stupid, mildly homophobic, misogynistic...
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Writer-directors Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko (the duo that penned "The Last Exorcism," oddly enough) try to shake up the teen-sex genre with some heart-wrenching drama, a cautionary tale about the Internet and a protagonist who is an aw-shucks nerd with a girlfriend of two years. Perhaps the film's most shameless contrivance is that he's the one who's been waiting until the moment is right.
In an effort to heighten the gonzo-verite vibe, the film is cast with mostly amateur actors, most of whom acquit themselves well enough, with Zack Pearlman in particular showing a modicum of star power (this is not to say the kid will be a star). But Gurland and Botko hedge their bets, casting Nickelodeon veteran Matt Bennett in the lead, he's appropriately gawky and gangly and clenched as the guy who wants it so bad he can't get out of his own way.
Of course the special night is an unqualified fiasco even before it happens, leaving Matt still a bong hit short of the promised land -- which is just as well, because otherwise the film would've been about 28 minutes long. What follows is a quixotic quest that takes Matt from the clutches of a pre-op blow-up tranny doll to porn star Sunny Leone's tour bus and beyond.
The girls for the most part are nothing but background noise. In several scenes in the film, we watch as the boys plot some evil act while girls sit around blithely flipping through magazines ignoring the cruelties being hatched. High school has no doubt changed in the past 20 years, but it seems unlikely that girls would sit by for some of the nonsense these guys plan.
Taking the edge of the fun -- and, yes, "The Virginity Hit" is fun in its way -- is Matt's too-bleak backstory. Maybe it's an attempt to humanize him or maybe make some of his actions understandable, if not justifiable. In any event his life story is just a huge bummer.
"The Virginity Hit" is the lowest of low art, but it nonetheless marks interesting step forward in the evolution of film (no, really), has some valuable lessons about not being a dirt bag and the pitfalls of the Internet and is at times genuinely funny. This movie will hit its target demo right between the eyes, leaving the rest of America cold, confused or angry.