d. Clare Kilner / 2009 / USA / 81 mins
d. Barra Grant / 2009 / USA / 90 mins
Viewed on: Metrodome DVD (Region 2)
One element of my recent temporary employment at Metrodome Distribution involved watching ‘check disc’ copies of DVDs to ensure quality control, keeping an eye out for breaks in synchronisation, video fragmentation etc. Unfortunately, more often than not, it seemed to involve watching horrible, straight-to-DVD movies. American Virgin and Love Hurts are most certainly two of those.
American Virgin follows Priscilla (Jenna ‘Mrs Channing Tatum’ Dewan), a pure-as-the-driven-snow teenager about to embark on college life. Corrupted by her new roommate, she inadvertently becomes a star of a ‘Chicks Go Crazy’ video at the nefarious hands of softcore college-porn honcho Ed Curtzman (Rob Schneider).
On the surface, you could dismiss this as a kind of Porky’s or Revenge of the Nerds for the 21st Century, but it lacks both a social context and a meaningful undercurrent about the state of modern youth. There was simply something shallow about this film, about the way that – despite its moralizing against Schneider’s character – it seemed to lack any sort of condemnation of the objectification and exploitation of college age women by these sorts of ‘Girls Go Wild’ organisations. I also found it particularly interesting that this film, largely concerned with the very American phenomenon of half-naked college girls, was directed by a British woman, Clare Kilner.
As a side note, I should also say (with some sadness) that, discounting things I have edited, American Virgin actually constituted my first professional film watching experience. May it get ever better from here on in, I thought to myself…
…but then there was Love Hurts, a different beast entirely. It’s a strange kind of sub-Freaky Friday/17 Again/Big-in-reverse flick in which Richard E. Grant bumbles his way through a marriage breakdown by getting drunk, getting in touch with his ‘inner-youth’ and getting laid (repeatedly).
Its not so much like watching a car crash, as watching a car driven by your weird, awkward uncle slowly mounting the kerb and smashing a plate glass window. Love Hurts may be billed as a ‘comedy’, but I’m afraid it possesses a fatal flaw: It just aint funny.
Forced to watch either of these again, I’m afraid I’d have to choose American Virgin. At least Rob Schneider’s impersonation of an auto-amorous Taiwanese teenager is mildly amusing. Oh, and it has more boobies.