Phylum: Coming of Age
Class: Sex Comedy
Order: Loss of Virginity
Family: Road Trip
Now that you've seen the Linnaean classification for the film, you don't
need to know much more, do you? You can already answer any questions I ask you
about the plot. I'll give you an example:
Info: Our 18-year-old virgin hero sets off on
a long road trip to meet the girl he has gotten to know through the internet.
Tagging along with him are his two best friends, a boy and girl he has known
for years. You know all of this in about the first five minutes of the film.
Question: Which girl will he end up with, 100
See what I mean? You don't need me at all.
At first I thought that the film's overall premise was weak in the
credibility department, even by the standards of teen sex comedies. I mean,
would a guy travel 1000 miles in his brother's car (borrowed without
permission, natch) for one night with somebody he only knew from an internet
chat room? And then I thought back to when I was a virgin. OK, I know what
you're thinking. We didn't have the internet back then, but we still formed
friendships by telegraph. Most of us had severe calluses on our index fingers.
And OK, I couldn't drive when I was a virgin, but I would have taken my
Schwinn 1000 miles if I thought it would pop my cherry, although it would have
taken me a week to get there. So I guess the premise is reasonable, after all.
At any rate, things progress predictably. In true American Pie fashion, the
film presses the usual buttons in trying to balance guy-movie raunch with
date-movie syrup. Usual stuff.
It has three elements that are both original and effective:
1. Seth Green is a hoot as an Amish guy they meet along the way. He has
already spent some time out in the world and has returned to the Amish
community, so one of the main characters asks him what he misses most about
the modern world. His answer, "Sarcasm." Is he, in fact, being sarcastic when
he says that, activating a true post-modernist mode? Not at all. That is the
only sincere thing he says in the entire movie. Everything else is full of
humble, gentle Amish deference - and it's obvious he doesn't mean a word of
it. Or does he? That's the great thing about sarcasm when it you use it
properly. Nobody knows when you are sincere.
2. One of the hapless losers gets laid constantly. He's a dweeby-looking
guy with a flabby body, unkempt hair, and thick glasses. He's not particularly
rich or intelligent, and he doesn't trick women into having sex with him. The
teen movie cliché would be to explain that by the size of his penis, but this
film doesn't go there. The guy just has game: confidence, humor, flattery,
humility, a good nature, an unwillingness to accept failure, and the ability
to close the sale. He's the character we all know, the douchy-lookin' guy who
always scores with the hottest chicks, although nobody can figure out how. The
real world is full of these guys. There is even a website called
which chronicles their adventures so those of us outside the club can marvel
at their amorous conquests. But the movie world has always ignored the
existence of such people, perhaps because we don't like to pay for a ticket to
find out that women just like some other guys much more than they like us, and
it's not because of some magic like a 13-inch rod, but just because they are
more likeable than us. Ouch.
3. The film has a clever running gag about the internet. As required by the
road trip genre code, our adventurers go through many mishaps and embarrassments on
their way. Every time they make fools of themselves, someone is there with an iPhone. They end up immediately on sites like YouTube and
othercrap.com, under headers like
"tearful abstinence plea gives boy massive woody." Starting within minutes
after each mishap and
continuing throughout the film, everyone in their path recognizes them from
popular blogs and YouTube videos.
The film's weakest point is that it lacks the really appealing female nudity
which is a necessary
component of a classic teen sex comedy. There are three main female roles: the hot
Amish chick and the internet girlfriend do topless scenes in which the camera
hides the important stuff, while the best friend chick shows absolutely
nothing. For the record, both male leads show their bums, but the only
female nudity comes from anonymous dancers and (Amish!!) revelers. I think we
all know that the most memorable thing about Fast Times at Ridgemont High was
the nudity from Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh. One of the most
memorable things about American Pie was the would-be sex scene with the
topless exchange student. The hilarious Not Another Teen Movie, riffing on
American Pie, features Cerina
Vincent completely naked all the time, because she's an exchange student and
nobody wants to impose American cultural values on her. C'mon guys. You have
to provide nudity from the characters we get involved with. Major rule of the
genre. If the girl next door had been played by Alba, and she had done a
topless scene ala Phoebe Cates, this would have been the most talked-about
film of the year.
Sex Drive is currently rated higher than American Pie or Risky Business at
IMDb, as high as Better Off Dead, and just a hair lower than Fast Times at
Ridgemont High, thus ranking it as a genre classic. While I don't agree with
that assessment, I think it demonstrates that the film plays extremely well
with its target audience. As for my own opinion, I'd say that it's not as good
as Risky Business or the original American Pie, but better than most, if not
all, of the Pie sequels. That would not make it a genre classic, but still a
pretty funny, pretty raunchy, and pretty smooth little flick if you go for this sort of entertainment.
Various anonymous chicks
"I’ll tell you for a fact that
it’s a body double for Monique DeMers in Net Games. I did the deal."
Scoop's note: this appears to be the real deal, submitted by her agent. The
submitter sent this with his real name, including e-mail address and a real
web site URL.
Based on this, I removed the clip from the archived version of yesterday's