"Virginity Hit" a bawdy crowdpleaser

Thu Sep 9, 2010 9:58pm EDT
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By Frank Scheck

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Essentially the first feature-length YouTube video, "The Virginity Hit" updates the horny-teenager movie to the Internet era.

It's not surprising that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are among the film's producers, as the comedy essentially plays like an elongated version of something you might see on their "Funny or Die" website. Director-screenwriters Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko are no strangers to the mockumentary format; their credits include the cult film "Mail Order Wife" and the screenplay for "The Last Exorcism," in theatrical release.

The Columbia release opens Friday.

Inspired by the endless sorts of routinely humiliating online videos that probably have scarred innumerable fragile psyches, this relentlessly vulgar and profane comedy revolves around the efforts of a group of teens to help their nebbishy buddy Matt (Matt Bennett) lose his virginity after an ill-fated attempt with his sexually frustrated girlfriend Nicole (Nicole Weaver). The friends have a personal motivation since having unfortunately chosen to document the experience -- including Matt's horrendous bout with explosive diarrhea -- the ensuing video inadvertently becomes an Internet sensation.

The chief novelty and conceit is that the story is told entirely through shaky, hand-held video footage, giving the proceedings a by now all-too-familiar "Blair Witch Project" feel. The results are only partially successful. While no doubt younger, electronically weaned audience members will embrace the stylistic approach, the screenplay lacks the wit necessary to distinguish the film from the countless randy-teenager movies that have preceded it. And one would-be comic high point, depicting an episode of man-on-man scrotum grooming, is an exact retread of a similar gag from the recent "She's Out of My League."

Still, the film offers enough raucous laughs to please its target audience, and for once the youthful ensemble cast actually look and act like real gawky teens. With the proper careful handling and careful astutely targeted marketing, "Virginity" might attain the cult status it so clearly seeks.