Losing it in a YouTube world
By Michael O'Sullivan
Friday, September 17, 2010
"The Virginity Hit" is a comedy that looks like a documentary but plays like a horror film -- to parents of teenagers. The parade of inappropriate adolescent behavior is enough to give nightmares to almost anyone with a kid, and to make some of those who haven't spawned yet consider getting their tubes tied.
Shot to look as if the whole movie had been cobbled together from camcorder footage taken by a bunch of randy, YouTube-obsessed kids -- in other words, shaky, under-lit and characterized by dialogue that's frequently inaudible, except where sexually preoccupied -- the movie purports to be the actual story of four actual high-school-age friends: Zack (Zack Pearlman), Justin (Justin Kline); Jacob (Jacob Davich) and Matt (Matt Bennett). One of the film's few likable characters, Matt is also the lone virgin among them. He's on a quest to lose his virginity to his girlfriend of two years, Nicole (Nicole Weaver), thereby entitling the two of them to share a celebratory bong hit.
Hence the film's title, which has nothing to do with box-office optimism. If there were justice in the world -- and there isn't -- the film would quickly crawl back under the rock whence it came. But I digress.
Early in the film, Matt and Nicole break up. That sets the stage for further misadventures in his effort to "do it" with any of an assortment of girls and young women, including: his adoptive sister (Krysta Rodriguez); a 25-year-old he meets on the Internet, who isn't exactly who she says she is (Savannah Welch); and Matt's favorite porn star (real-life porn star Sunny Leone).
I know: classy. It's ironic that the film's moral -- it's best to lose your virginity to someone you love -- comes from the porn star.
That breakup takes place after a disastrous second-anniversary date, in which we're treated to the sounds of Matt's nervousness-induced diarrhea. The audio and video -- which Zack subsequently posts online -- comes courtesy of recording equipment that Zack and his voyeuristic pals have rigged up in the hotel room where Matt and Nicole are intending to give themselves to each other. Boundaries? We don't need no stinkin' boundaries!
That's the film's conceit: that kids today are so comfortable exposing themselves to their Facebook "friends" (and millions of other strangers), and that reality TV and YouTube have made the documentation of people's lives so commonplace that nobody under the age of 18 would bat an eye about being followed around by someone with a camera 24 hours a day.
Written and directed by Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland, "The Virginity Hit" uses that concept to sell the audience on the gimmick: that the film is somehow real "found" footage, a la "The Blair Witch Project." It's not, of course, but it turns out to be an interesting topic for a conversation about the zeitgeist -- not to mention a much scarier movie.
Contains pervasive crude language and sexual humor, shoplifting, under-age drinking, nudity and drug use.