By the code of comedy conduct laid out by Judd Apatow, sexist leering and crass sexual slobbering is acceptable, so long as it’s counteracted with a moral settling up. We strongly feel this implied, but remarkably binding, Hollywood code fueling the alternately tasteless and tasty teen sex farce The Virginity Hit. Will our young and sexually unflowered hero (Matt Bennett) achieve his goal of joining the ranks of the sexed? How will the process unfold? Will it be messy? But of course: the often-funny mess is what keeps us tuned in.
Just this year, the resourceful writer-director tag team of Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland wielded a surprisingly effective hand in the slowly expanding field of mockumentaries good enough to be upgraded to the multiplex level. Their recently released film The Last Exorcism adds a twist or two to the bejeezuz-scaring horror genre, while The Virginity Hit takes the Apatow hormone-rage medium in a scruffier, non-Hollywood-ized direction.
In both films, low-tech and low-budget means rule, and work well to expressive ends. Their horror exercise was based around a scheme with young documentary filmmakers following a charlatan exorcist. The insider camera-wielder in The Virginity Hit is Zack Pearlman (actors use their real names in the film, for added truth-goosing), a neurotic wannabe filmmaker whose new project is to track the process of his friends’ virginity-losing mission. Thus, we get humble visuals and cinematography on the cheap and on the fly via handicams and cell phone captures.
“I’m going to do for your virginity what Hitchcock did for birds,” says Zack, first cajoling Matt into allowing him to film the flick. “Make it scary?” asks his subject. “No, make it beautiful.” Alas, it’s not beautiful, wrinkle-free, or linear, as one mishap and missed op after another keep the narrative tumbling forward for 90 mostly engaging minutes. Male bravado keeps getting slapped upside the head in the story, through unchecked gossip mongering, a feminist performance art project, Internet humiliation (“God invented the Internet for porn,” says Zach), and even a porn star encounter gone sentimental. True love may win out, after all. Apatow would approve.