The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
"First, we reunite, then find Ma and Pa's killer...then read some reviews."

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sex Drive

If we listen to everything movies teach us, teenagers apparently like to have sex and aspire to have as much sex as humanly possible. So I hear, I could be wrong. But with that premise, we've gotten a lot -- a lot -- of teen sex comedies, some better than others. It's a sub-genre all to itself, one that audiences are quite familiar with. In other words, you've got to do something new/surprising to be effective. Take 2008's Sex Drive, a flick that seems pretty been there, done that in its raunchiness. Brace yourself's good, really good.

Having just graduated high school, 18-year old Ian (Josh Zuckerman) is a virgin and trying his best to lose that virginity. He has a crush on his longtime friend Felicia (Amanda Crew), but she seems to see him as nothing more than a good friend she can talk to about anything and everything. Ian is also talking to a girl from Kentucky, Ms. Tasty, online although he's pretending to be a muscle-bound football player. One night, Ms. Tasty tells Ian he should come visit her, and because he drove all that way, she'll have sex with him. Ian is wary of driving all that way, but his ladies man friend Lance (Clark Duke) convinces him otherwise. They "borrow" Ian's brother classic 1969 GTO and hit the road, but Felicia tags along -- even if she doesn't know the real intention of the road trip. Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee? What could go wrong?

With movies like Superbad and the American Pie series (among countless others), the teen sex comedy is nothing new for audiences. 'Drive' is actually based off a novel by Andy Behrens (a Yahoo Sports writer), and I for one can say I was very surprised to hear that a sex comedy was based off a novel. Reviews are solid for Behrens' novel though with director Sean Anders obviously amping things up in his flick. There are touches that feel too familiar, but the teen sex comedy road trip buddy flick is just that, familiar. Ian, Lance and Felicia run into all sorts of eccentric horny people and various craziness on the road, but you knew that going in. None of this is intended as a negative or a dig at the movie. It's all very funny, the laughs treading that fine line between awfully stupid and just goofy that is funny.

Through all the sex jokes and general raunchiness, the heart of this flick is in the characters. The best example I can come up with is Superbad where we (well, I did) liked the main characters, making the hijinks they get into more fun to watch. That's especially the case with our teenage trio -- in the film at least -- as they steal a classic car and head south. Zuckerman is really good as Ian, your typical average high schooler who leans toward the nerdy side. Sometimes it's a little exaggerated, but 'Drive' gets the awkwardness of high school right on all levels. Duke is a scene-stealer as Lance, a chubby, pretty normal looking guy who has nonetheless turned himself into a ladies man with his ultra-confidence. Mostly though, he's a good friend to Ian, genuinely looking out for him. Crew is solid too as Felicia, the girl of Ian's dreams who may or may not like him too. Uh-oh, didn't see that coming!

Following the genre formula, we do meet some rather zany personalities along the way. 'Drive' doesn't have much in the way of star power, but Anders and John Morris do a really good job writing a screenplay off Behrens' novel, especially throwing a long line of kooky supporting characters at the viewer. Let's start with James Marsden as Rex, Ian's older brother who's a gearhead and convinced his little bro is gay. When his car gets stolen, he's understandably a little upset. Seth Green is another scene-stealer as Ezekiel, an Amish mechanic who can't pass up a good chance to lay some sarcasm down. Alice Greczyn is Mary, an Amish girl who takes a liking to Lance and vice versa, Katrina Bowden is the girl of Ian's sex dreams, Ms. Tasty, Charlie McDermott and Mark L. Young as Andy and Randy, two motor-mouthed teenagers who are always on the lookout for a hook-up, Michael Cudlitz as a pissed-off pursuer on the highway, and David Koechner as a wayward hitchhiker.

There's no point in overanalyzing this one. It's from a familiar sub-genre, but it does plenty to distance itself from the pack. Different characters and situations should seem familiar. If you've seen any other teen sex comedy, you've seen some of the predecessors to this one. The humor can be pretty raunchy -- especially the unrated version -- and there's random bits of nudity sprinkled in throughout the movie. I liked it a lot though. It is goofy from beginning to end, but the characters are at least remotely believable and sympathetic, and the laughs are there throughout. Definitely give this one a try.

Sex Drive (2008): ***/****

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