3 stars (out of 4)
I pondered this review for a few days – thought a fever might be clouding my judgment. Decided my judgment is no worse than usual, so here goes: Sex Drive is a fine, fine movie, one of the best I’ve seen in 2008.
Yes, the title makes simply buying a ticket an embarrassment. Yes, it’s another horny-teen flick chock full of tasteless gags (not that there’s anything wrong with those). Yes, it features a muscle car, just like every movie made since 2005. And yes, Seth Green plays an Amish dude.
Yes, all this would appear to add up to … another horny-teen flick. Sex Drive is a damn good one.
But it’s also much more than that.
Quickie recap: Josh Zuckerman is Nerdy Virgin. Clark Duke is Best Friend Who Has All the Moves with Chicks (odd but clever bit of casting, that, as Duke looks more like an Even Nerdier Best Friend character). Amanda Crew is Platonic Friend Nerdy Virgin Secretly Pines For.
Nerdy Virgin gets an Internet chat going with an (apparently) cute gal, and next thing you know the three high-schoolers are off on a Road Trip to Get Nerdy Virgin Laid. Oh, and said road trip is taken in the aforementioned muscle car, a Pontiac GTO. Oh, and said GTO belongs to Nerdy Virgin’s Older Brother Who Is A Complete Tool.
Fresh as a daisy, eh? I know, I know – but believe it or not, within this ancient subgenre, director and co-writer Sean Anders creates a charming, genuinely character-driven story. Really. Without sacrificing testicle jokes, coprophilia, and an Amish girl partying till she pukes. Who said you can’t have it all?
There’s another thing Sex Drive has that virtually all Hollywood pictures lack these days: a sense of place. The road trip runs from Chicago to Knoxville, Tenn. I’m an old Midwesterner myself (Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio), and despite the fact that most of the movie takes place in a GTO on an Interstate, the vibe is right.
Bottom line: damn good movie that, due to its genre, won’t be appreciated the way it ought to be.