Miss March takes its rightful place in the great, squalid American parade of teen-time comedies in which the profane and the moral do a push-me-pull-you dance. Ultimately, as in the films stamped with the name “Apatow,” the sexual crassness and sexist button-pushing gives way to moralizing realizations about the greater good, and that getting the “good” girl is a higher goal than “getting the girl” in a more generic, may-the-best-sex-win paradigm. The formula keeps on giving, and sticks to a surprisingly conservative agenda, despite the appearance of some rebel creed on the surface.
One distinction with this model is that its comedy engine misfires so regularly that we tend to pull out of the naughty spirit of the thing and instead look upon it with pity and academic interest: here, after all, is a possible contender for the year’s most unfunny comedy. It’s almost startling when a scene in the middle of the film is laugh-out loud amusing. Ironically, the scene in question is an almost sexual encounter involving a woman in a bed, a bug-eyed young man, a tour bus, and a bump in the road.
All in all, the premise in Miss March-written, directed by, and starring the tag team of Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore-is much more promising than the execution. In the narrative, bizarre twists compensate somewhat for the failure of the joke factor. On a basic genre level, the plot thickens (or thins) out to be a road movie in which a once-comatose boy seeks out his lost girlfriend, whom he rediscovers in a Playboy centerfold spread. He and his more openly horny, slobbering friend seek wisdom on the mount, being, of course, the permanently-pajama-ed Hugh Hefner. Some kind of perverse charm descends on the movie in a late-breaking scene in which Hef dispenses sage advice to our Playboy Mansion gate-crashing admirer, admitting his nagging attraction to a homely gal back home, in his youth.
We are yanked out of our reverie, though, upon recognizing that Miss March is the kind of product placement opportunity Playboy should have thought thrice about.