Missed It by That Much
“When the four of us entered high school,” teenaged filmmaker Zack notes sadly as The Virginity Hit opens, “we were all virgins.” Well, duh: You were 14 years old. I suspect that there’s meant to be something amusing in the idiotic desperation of Zack and Matt, his best friend, when a few years pass by and Matt is the only poor schmoe still left untouched by female flesh. But there isn’t. There is only that unvarnished idiotic desperation, which receives a hearty we’re-all-boys-here slap on the back, as if we’re all so intensely invested in Matt’s virginity and the losing of it that will consume the 90 minutes that follow.
The Virginity Hit is meant to look as if it’s made up of a series of YouTube found objects, as budding Scorsese Zack (Zack Pearlman) obnoxiously camcords every last moment of Matt’s (Matt Bennett) quest to get laid, no matter what it takes… and posts the result on YouTube, of course, for all the world to laugh at. For the course of horny teenage sex does not run smooth, particularly not when the clueless misogyny of these very young and even more immature men is given free, uncommented-upon reign. Grownup filmmakers Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko have shown before — with the very funny Mail Order Wife and the creepy recent The Last Exorcism — that they know how to use the faux-documentary form to tell pointed stories about societal foibles. Here, however, they so perfectly ape the perspectives of their horny-teenaged-boy protagonists that humiliation and malice are the only emotions on display, especially when it comes to the girls they’re trying to make time with. (The male fantasy about ordinary guys and “hot” girls gets a workout too; there’s nary a plump and/or plain girl among all the plump and/or plain boys. So there’s a blow against the “authenticity” it’s aiming for.) If Gurland and Botko have learned to move past the adolescent notion that girls and women are either virgins or whores and nothing in between, they nobly step aside to let Zack and Matt’s ideas about the male ownership of women — and the sullying of women that thereby occurs — dictate the course of the film.
For Matt actually has a girlfriend, you see: Nicole (Nicole Weaver) is a virgin, too, and would like to have sex with Matt, but he keeps putting her off. (If there was any sense that Matt simply wasn’t ready to take that big step, that would have made for a refreshing breath of honest air for the genre of raunchy-teenage-boy-comedy. But there’s nothing of the kind here.) He puts her off for so long, in fact, that by the time he’s ready to get down and dirty, he’s hearing a rumor about something she did with a college guy at a frat party… and now he’s pissed. He’s even angrier when he confronts the college guy about the rumor and the guy apologizes for what he did to Matt. Because Nicole is Matt’s property, see, which the college guy misappropriated for himself. Nicole’s desires and wishes are nary a factor here, and of course Matt does not simply ask Nicole what did or did not happen with the college guy. She is, after all, merely the girl he believes is so wonderful that he writes a song for her. But that was when he believed she was his alone.
From there, it gets even worse, as Matt and Zack plan revenge on Nicole, including a scenario in which Matt and Nicole will have sex while a dozen of their “friends” eavesdrop. The salacious cruelty that oozes from this deeply unpleasant film is celebrated as just one more adolescent milestone — as if sex were inherently a trial and a degradation — and the only moment when Matt’s stupidity takes the smack to the head it deserves is yet another opportunity to show up women as conniving schemers out to hurt men.
It’s movies like this one — which thinks itself sweet but is nothing but charmless and creepy — that leave me in despair: How can a film be about nothing but sex and yet be so powerfully unsexy? Everything that is wrong about how our culture looks at sex is encapsulated in this movie. Even more depressingly, there isn’t even the slightest hint that the movie has the barely inkling that this is the case.