Film Reviews

Sex Drive Sean Anders

Rating - 5/10

College buddy movie, teen sex movie, whatever it is the kids are calling this sort of thing these days, it makes me embarrassed to be under the age of 30 and just a little bit thankful, for once, to be cursed with a prematurely receding hairline. The problem with Sex Drive is that, point blank, the coming-of-age comedy has grown up, grown balls, and grown out of the embarrassing flaws it exhibited in the 90s, even if its target audience has steadily regressed into a state of prolonged adolescence. We're well past the good old days where a kid using baked goods as a masturbation aid was a good enough gag to carry an entire movie, but Sex Drive failed to receive this memo, and comes off as a throwback curiosity because of it.

Right off the bat, Sex Drive fails the suspension of disbelief test by making the main character an attractive young man who is, in fact, not awkward at all. In fact, the only thing awkward about him is the fact that this film tries to sell him as a weird dweeb who must resort to photoshopping his face on the body of football players in order to attract women from the internet. We saw through this same ruse when Hollywood claimed for the better part of a decade that the only difference between a hot chick and an ugly chick was a pair of contacts and letting the hair down, and we definitely see through it here. With the arrival of Seth Rogen and Michael Cera, we can no longer accept pretty boys as stand-ins for at-risk lifelong virgins.

From here, the film takes the standard connect-the-dots approach. A young man who struggles with the fairer sex concocts a crazy scheme to score with a girl who is so far out of his league she isn't even playing the same sport. Insert the awkward family, the villainous older brother, and the prerequisite "iconic" images of the film (in Porkys a shower, the baked goods from American Pie, and here... a donut costume and an Amish Fall Out Boy concert?), and by George you've got a movie. Not a very original one, but a movie nonetheless, and one that stands a pretty good chance of recouping its budget before anyone catches on.

To its credit, Sex Drive flirts with transcendence of its genre at several points. Clark Duke's performance as a smarmy prick whose smug confidence overrides both his many personality defects and his pork belly is to this genre what Heath Ledger's was to comic book cinema, and much better than a movie like this deserves. His presence turns this safe money genre exercise into something darker, something more cerebral, with the Ian/Lance/Felicia triangle becoming some sort of surreal homage to In The Company of Men. But by the third act, of course, friendships must be mended, endings must be happy, blah blah f***ing blah.

The trailers pitch American Pie meets "the Internet be CRAZY!", but Sex Drive quickly devolves into a series of capers that are more moderately zany than full-out wild. The potential still remains for a final, all-encompassing comedy about the use of the Internet as an instrument for romance, but such a film would likely have to be as bleak as the day is long, which does not lend itself nicely to throwaway sight gags involving condoms and sexual metaphors involving grandparents.