"Sex Drive" takes a familiar route

Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:38am EDT
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By Michael Rechtshaffen

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Trying for reheated "American Pie" if served up by Judd Apatow, the raunchy "Sex Drive" is by no means "Superbad," but thanks to a likable cast, neither is it superbad.

Although the road taken is a mighty familiar one, those bright performances help compensate for the onslaught of the sort of innocent sexism and good-natured homophobia that constitute too much of the humor, not to mention a prolonged 108-minute running time that qualifies as more of a relationship than a one-night-stand.

Summit Entertainment's R-rated Friday release might lure some packs of young males looking for titillation in a market saturated with date movies, but it likely will travel further in the ancillary lanes.

Josh Zuckerman plays the Jason Biggs character -- a shy 18-year-old looking to lose his virginity before starting college with the enticing Ms. Tasty, a hot blonde he meets on the Internet.

Undeterred by the possibility that the babe could very well be a dude, he embarks on a 500-mile road trip from Chicago to Knoxville, accompanied by his sardonic, chubby best buddy (Clark Duke in the Seth Rogen role) and his platonic female friend (Amanda Crew channeling Molly Ringwald circa 1986).

Adapted from the Andy Behrens novel "All the Way," by director Sean Anders along with John Morris, the script goes through its paces painlessly if predictably.

They do, however, demonstrate remarkable restraint by including a prison sequence that doesn't feature the dropping of any soap.

Given the absence of any real freshness or inspired surprise here, it really should have been shorter, but at least the actors play those familiar characters with an energetic conviction.   Continued...