Directed by: Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland (Mail Order Wife)
Starring: Matt Bennett, Zack Pearlman, Jacob Davich, Justin Kline, Nicole Weaver
I’ve heard tell that The Virginity Hit‘s directors, Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland, made a pretty good mockumentary with their last film, Mail Order Bride (2004). Now, for me, hearing that a mockumentary is “pretty good” is about on par with mentioning the bitchin’ case of the gout you have. The whole mockumentary/found-footage genre is the laziest, most inert style of filmmaking imaginable. When Rob Reiner is your ne plus ultra, you know you’re in trouble. And if Botko and Gurland are the future of the genre, can we please go ahead and bury it already?
The Virginity Hit straddles the line between the mockumentary and found-footage approaches, this time around adding the Internet generation into the story. The movie offers up the idea that we’re watching YouTube videos of a bunch of teens as they follow the attempts of their friend Matt (Matt Bennett, who is a sort of mealy, shrunken Andy Samberg) to lose his virginity. Thankfully, the movie cheats a lot on its YouTube pastiche, moving in and out of more traditional footage.
Beyond this, The Virginity Hit is no different than any number of teen comedies, right down to your token characters. Matt is, of course, dorky and easily embarrassed. He also has an overweight best friend (Zack Pearlman), who just so happens to be crass and loud. If this sounds something like Superbad (2007), that’s because it pretty much is, only shorn of any of that film’s insight. The only “insight” The Virginity Hit offers is that girls turn into raging, uncontrollable harlots as soon as alcohol is ingested.
Beyond the film’s gimmickry, there’s nothing to separate the movie from other raunchy teen sex farces, with diarrhea jokes and excessive drinking, all performed by a bunch of spoiled rich kids. Even by the lowly standards set forth by The Virginity Hit‘s forebearers, this is pretty weak, tactless stuff. If you found I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (2009) too cerebral, then here’s a movie for you. The very least the film could’ve done is be offensive; instead, all the crudeness—the gross-out gags, the sex jokes—is pretty flaccid.
The film moves along from one absurd attempt by Matt to lose his virginity to the next, and each time the characters become more and more unlikable. At least with the found footage in Cloverfield (2008) you had the monster to root for once you could no longer stand the tragically obnoxious, out-of-touch characters the film peddled. Here, the best we can hope for is that the credits will roll. For some, that might not be enough. At the showing I attended—an early Saturday evening show, mind you—there were five people in attendance. By midpoint, they had all left. I’m pretty sure that the usher doing theater checks, who lingered around watching a scene set in a strip club, watched more of the movie than the paying customers did. Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, drug and alcohol use.