18 January 2011

Movie Review: The Virginity Hit


The Virginity Hit
2010, 88mins, 18
Director (s): Huck Botko, Andrew Gurland
Writer (s): Huck Botko, Andrew Gurland
Cast includes: Matt Bennett, Zack Pearlman, Jacob Davich, Nicole Weaver, Justin Kline, Sunny Leone
UK Release Date: 19th November 2010

To label “The Virginity Hit” an outright abomination would be harsh, after all the production does at least attempt to aesthetically shake some dust off the surface of its stale and perpetually horny genre. Shot on handheld cameras to create a YouTube vibe, “The Virginity Hit” only has its cheapie technical attributes to distinguish itself, otherwise it’s just an adolescent excursion dearly lacking in both the arenas of comedy and charisma. It’s a cut above genre lowlights like “Van Wilder”, but the film clearly wants to be the next “Superbad” or “American Pie”, an ambition it never comes close to achieving.

After one of their crew loses his virginity, a group of High School reprobates decide to make a pact (just a super original concept); each time an individual from the gang shakes his cherry they’ll take a hit from a specific bong. As the months roll by the virginity hits (geddit?) become more frequent, until only geeky Matt (Matt Bennett) is left. Matt can’t quite gather the courage to blow his first load, despite being involved in a long-term relationship with a sweet girl named Nicole (Nicole Weaver). After a farcical attempt to do the deed, Matt and Nicole actually end up severing their romance, leaving a confused Matt with no obvious alternatives on the horizon. Enter Matt’s half-brother Zach (a poisonously unfunny Zack Pearlman), who decides to spearhead and document an adventure that will help his dear friend attain sexual maturity. All of course does not go to plan.

My biggest gripe with “The Virginity Hit” is its cast; they’re simply not a jocose bunch of fellows. Directors Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland rely heavily on their actors to create an aura of authenticity, weak improvisation seemingly being the vital factor in cultivating such an atmosphere. The young performers fail to make much of a mark; some are too reserved and quiet, whilst others (Zack Pearlman!) strut through the picture as if they’re the lovechildren of Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell (who sadly co-produced this movie), all the while exhibiting none of the talent or wit associated with such comedic legends. Matt Bennett is the exception, bringing tolerable amounts of teen angst and a quirky sense of shame to proceedings. It’s not a turn of much depth, but at least Bennett is halfway likable and occasionally funny.

As with many of its ilk “The Virginity Hit” trades largely in the realms of vulgarity and humiliation, all of which is supposed to be leant a feeling of real world intimacy thanks to the film’s mockumentary style. Very little of what’s offered here is either entertaining or memorable, indeed much of it is just kind of tedious. Despite a fairly tight running time (88 minutes), the film grows tiresome before the midway point, unceremoniously thrusting Matt from one dubiously linked indiscretion to another. Botko and Gurland obviously intended for the hacked together editing to radiate a sense of realism, but it actually just irritates and further compounds the lack of fizzle or imagination present in their production. Some of the filthy one-liners do encourage giggles, but none of the movie’s gross out set-pieces brought on anything more than a twitchy smirk. The lack of creativity is startling, but more worrying is the insufficiency of organic energy featured. The whole affair just feels overtly drab and needlessly dull.

The project’s desperation is palpable come the finale, which deploys real life porn star Sunny Leone, presumably to concoct a sense of gimmicky self-worth. It’s by turns idiotic and pathetic. I enjoy a heartily depraved and filthy minded cinematic shindig as much as the next guy, and am always up for well intentioned and excitable tomfoolery, but “The Virginity Hit” is subpar from start to finish. Even the film’s single intriguing facet (the low-fi visual presentation) eventually begins to grate. In future these filmmakers would do well to actually craft fleshed out and engaging characters (please don’t employ Zack Pearlman again), but more importantly tell boner jokes that actually stimulate the viewer’s sense of humour. After all if you can’t do that, what’s the freaking point?

A Review by Daniel Kelly, 2011


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