The Virginity Hit
2010, R, 86 min. Directed by Huck Botko, Andrew Gurland. Starring Matt Bennett, Zack Pearlman, Jacob Davich, Justin Kline, Krysta Rodriguez, Nicole Weaver, Harry Zittel, Savannah Welch.
REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Sept. 10, 2010
“You’ve just been Rick-rolled,” one character tells another in The Virginity Hit, referencing an online meme that ends in the stealth video bombardment of Eighties pop star Rick Astley. The moment netted a big laugh at the advance screening, but it’s indicative of the copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy feel that distinguishes this remainder-bin comedy, which appropriates other sources’ more successful manscaping jokes, porn-star fetishes, even the relationship-as-art-project dupe (surely Neil LaBute’s least welcome homage). Another faux documentary, this one chronicles the efforts of a 17-year-old kid named Matt (the likable Bennett) to lose his virginity. Matt is a special kid – sensitive where his friends are crude, abstemious where most everyone else is a black-out drunk – and he’s had legitimate pain (a dead mom and a deadbeat dad). If this were a more traditional Hollywood narrative – something, say, in the mold of The 40-Year-Old Virgin – then, eventually, Matt’s sweet, geeky influence would have the effect of bringing his less-evolved friends up to his level. But co-writer/directors Botko and Gurland (who also scripted The Last Exorcism) want instead to drop-kick Matt down to the level of his lessers, which is somewhere in the vicinity of the subbasement of depravity. These kids in their late teens behave in outré ways that will shock no one who has seen Jackass or a Judd Apatow production. But – quite crucially – the Jackass pranksters are merry in their mayhem, and the Apatow playhouse is peopled by lower-middle class low-self-esteemers. But to have insecurities, one must first care about the opinion of others, and The Virginity Hit’s leads simply don’t. These are privileged white kids who stalk New Orleans (where the film was shot) as if they own the place. They are hateful and destructive, allowed to function without consequence (and, presumably, with credit cards) by affluent, indulgent, mostly absent parents and by nonspeaking girl groupies who are unaccountably adoring of these jerks. Significantly, the group depicted here is of the first generation raised by the Internet – social media’s prints are all over the film – but The Virginity Hit doesn’t have anything anthropologically interesting to say about that. The characters here all share the same first names as the actors who portray them, and the publicity department has gone to some pains to suggest the film is based at least in part on real life. I couldn’t care less either way – fact or fiction, The Virginity Hit is repugnant.