The Virginity Hit wants to be a hilarious comedy. It also wants to be a poignant coming-of-age story. And if you want to call it a commentary on voyeurism in the digital age, it’ll wear that hat too. The problem with trying to be all of these things simultaneously is it never truly nails any of them; it sort of hovers in the middle of the pack, unsure of what to be next. Filled with realistic, relatable characters, the filmmakers should be commended for putting a new spin on a tried and true genre, but the end result of this Blair Witch Project/Superbad hybrid is more depressing than funny. And in a comedy, that’s a bit of a problem. Hit the jump to read more.
The Virginity Hit focuses on a group of four high school buddies who each take a hit off a special bong when they lose their virginity – hence ‘The Virginity Hit.’ One by one, the boys are deflowered: Justin (Justin Kline), Jacob (Jacob Davich) and Zack (Zack Pearlman), leaving only Matt (Matt Bennett) left sans sex. Being as Matt is Zack’s best friend and adopted brother, Zack has the idea to film the road to his buddy losing his virginity with Matt’s longtime girlfriend Nicole (Nicole Weaver). Things hit a speed bump, though, when Matt hears a crazy rumor and that sets the boys on a mission devirginize their friend. All the while Zack, or someone in the group, is filming to put the whole story up on YouTube.
Written and directed by the duo behind The Last Exorcism, Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko and produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell, it’s obvious why The Virginity Hit got made. The idea of YouTubing a friend losing his virginity seems like such a ripe subject, especially when it’s done on the cheap with many unknown, and first time, actors. The film was shot by the principals over the course of several weeks and, much in the vein of Curb Your Enthusiasm, there wasn’t a script – just an outline for improvisation. Still, unlike that show, the humor in The Virginity Hit only pops up in parts. Long stretches of the film are filled with humiliating exposition and misplaced potty humor. In most comedies, humiliation is fun, but The Virginity Hit has created such a sympathetic character with its lead, Matt, that it’s difficult to watch him be humiliated. We learn about the death of his mother, his deadbeat father and we see him fail so many times that all we want for him is to be happy. He’s too well-developed to be a punchline.
Plus, the whole concept makes watching the film slightly confusing. It cuts between different film stocks, different camera angles and while the time the issue of who is holding the camera is often addressed, when it’s not, it’s jarring. One scene in particular makes great use of this mystery, but others are a little off putting. Plus, we are never quite sure of Zack’s motivation behind this whole idea. Why so obsessed with shooting everything that happens? Is he shooting to show some friends online? Fame and fortune? Just for his buddies? There are scenes of people online reacting to the clips but none of the viral nature of the story is ever played up.
In the sex department, The Virginity Hit is way more erotic and sensual than your average comedy. Again, this is probably because the main characters so well developed. But humor and actually being sexy really don’t mix too well. And while it doesn’t take a genius to see where the film is going, when it gets there, it’s pretty anticlimactic. Maybe that was on purpose. Maybe that was the message. But in a comedy, even one with heart, you’d hope the whole journey would build up to something major and this movie doesn’t. Then it ends.
There are certainly things to like about The Virginity Hit: the characters, the concept, some of the jokes and set pieces. And it’s almost always entertaining to watch, but ultimately it’s a frustrating and failed experiment.
The Virginity Hit opens in limited release on Friday, in New York and Los Angeles on September 17 and then wider on September 24.