Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sex Drive

At first glance you might think that the new movie “Sex Drive” is just another teenage sex comedy, but if you look closer you’ll discover that, yeah, you pretty much had it right the first time. Don’t take this as a criticism though; if you are going to see a film like “Sex Drive” chances are that you know what to expect, and this movie will not disappoint, in fact you might even be pleasantly surprised as the film rises just a bit above the standard for the genre.

“Sex Drive” is a standard tale of self-discovery featuring some of the characters you have come to expect in these kinds of films. There’s Ian, played by Josh Zuckerman (“Austin Powers in Goldmember”, “Survivng Christmas”), as the awkward teenaged virgin who has made it his goal to lose his virginity by film’s end. We have Felicia, played by Amanda Crew (“Final Destination 3”, “Whistler”), as the girl who’s right in front of Ian the whole time, although in a twist on the character type it’s Felicia who doesn’t realize that they are right for each other. The final third of the main trio is Lance, played by Clark Duke (“Greek”), as the super-confident guy who gets the ladies with little effort and has confidence to spare; in another character twist though, Lance is super nerdy in his appearance, looking like Rainn Wilson’s little brother, and succeeding on his confidence alone.

The story revolves around Ian trying to meet a girls in Knoxville, Tennesee whose online name is Ms_Tasty. After prompting from Lance, Ian steals the 1969 GTO belonging to his abusive older brother Rex, played by James Marsden (“Enchanted”, “X-Men”) who plays the character perfectly, and hits the road. Felicia joins the ride because she was planning to spend the weekend at Ian’s house to get away from her own family, and is traveling under the belief that they are going to visit Ian’s grandmother.

The movie quickly becomes a road trip move with the trio running into a number of interesting characters, including a sexually adventurous gas station employee and her violent boyfriend, a possibly murderous hitchhiker, a mysterious tuner car, a man who wants to share a bathroom stall with Ian, and a group of unconventional Amish personified by Ezekiel, played by Seth Green (“Family Guy”, “Robot Chicken”).

As the film progresses, you are taken through the predictable stages of this sort of film; friendships are tested, jealousy rears its head, temptation presents itself, and everyone learns something about themselves. Nothing unique or particularly original, but it’s all very well done.

All the things you expect to find in a movie of this type are here; boobs, dick jokes, poop jokes, and lots and lots of sexual innuendo. It’s all very low brow and predictable, but it somehow comes across as something more than its modern sex comedy brethren.

While my first instinct is to compare this film to the likes of “American Pie” or “Road Trip”, that is not totally fair. “Sex Drive” certainly does share a lot with those two movies, but it is more than that, and it is certainly better than the direct-to-DVD garbage that has been shoveled out under the “American Pie” and National Lampoon” banners over the last few years. In fact it is somewhat reminiscent of the original “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, as it shares some of that film’s wit and features many colourful characters that give the story more flavour than it’s slightly off cookie cutter protagonists would alone.

Despite being predictable, crude, and sometimes gross, “Sex Drive” is fast paced, witty, well written, well cast, and features the best Mexican donut mascot you are ever likely to see. This is a movie I recommend strongly for mature (chronologically anyway) audiences that want to just turn their brains off and laugh for an hour and a half.

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