Miscellaneous nudity film clips (See below.)
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? Except that it's a good example of
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 minutes later?
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, so we
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. We should not debate that, since the
film is part genre film and part genre spoof, so it assumed plenty of
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
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
hotchickswithdouchebags.com 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 we are too lazy or too
unlikable to match their successes. 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
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 bombed in the theaters, perhaps because its weakest point is
that it lacked the really appealing female nudity which is a necessary
component of a classic teen sex comedy. The only female nudity came 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.
The good news: lots of nudity has been added for the Blu-Ray release!
Despite it's poor theatrical performance, it has now risen to the
status of genre favorite. 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 it's still a pretty
funny, pretty raunchy, and pretty smooth little flick, assuming you go for
this sort of entertainment.