Director: Boaz DavidsonÂ Â Â
Screenplay: Boaz Davidson
Starring: Lawrence Monsoon, Joe Rubbo, Diane Franklin, Louisa Moritz.
Format: Blu-ray/DVD ComboÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â
Running Time: 93 mins
Release Date: 16th September 2013
Reviewed by Guy Adams
Cinema is littered with movies who owe their reputations almost entirely to the potency of their final acts. I have previously risked a lynching by including BLADE RUNNER and THE WICKER MAN in this category but I suspect the cow Iâ€™m discussing here is safely less sacred.
An American remake of Israeli filmmaker, Boaz Davidsonâ€™s heavily autobiographical ESKIMO LIMON, THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN spends the majority of its length sitting comfortably in the PORKYâ€™s school of cinema. Three high-school boys (in standard formation: the Quiet Geek, The Funny Fat One and The Absurdly Sexy Heartbreaker), stumble through episodic adventures involving breasts and beer. All of this is heavily soundtracked by music from the era (Arrowâ€™s PR proudly claims the film to be â€˜a superb snapshot of the early Eighties music sceneâ€™ which, to me is like saying â€˜brilliantly encapsulates the experience of having your ears viciously shat in by colourful apesâ€™ but I accept musical tastes may vary).
Itâ€™s occasionally fun and occasionally creepy (the scene where the boys are seduced one by one by a Mexican Milf somehow feels terrifyingly predatory rather than sexy, though I appreciate that, at that age, I, like our trio of young hormone sacks here, would have been delirious with joy at the prospect of any woman tugging me into her bedroom, even if she does drink sherry and dance like a troublesome aunt at a wedding). It is during the last half hour that things take a more serious turn and it offers a climax unusual and unexpected enough to mark it out as different from its contemporaries.
I might even be one of the many who happily laud it as a cut above the rest were it not for one slightly troubling scene.
I make a point never to discuss plot details in my reviews and itâ€™s going to be nigh on impossible for me to justify my ill-feeling towards the scene in question while standing by that. I will have to be irritatingly vague and therefore end up sounding like a prude (which will certainly be a first).
In the special features, Davidson talks about how, as a young man, nudity in mainstream films was a special treat. Not having access to porn a sudden glimpse of female body parts bursting across the screen was like finding a five pound note in the gutter. Now, I will be honest enough to admit I know exactly where heâ€™s coming from (yes, I had many video cassettes I would fast-forward through as a teenager so as to pay special, private attention to scenes of fleshy merit) but there is a moment in THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN where the camera slowly pans down female lead, Diane Franklin, likeÂ a prison searchlight on the hunt for escapees. It lingers just as she hooks her thumbs into her underwear offering the briefest glimpse of pubic hair before cutting to the next scene. Teenage boys the world over would certainly have been reaching for the tissues. BUT, the context… the reasons she is undressing… Ah… Maybe Iâ€™ve grown too soft in my middle age but throwing in â€˜one for the boysâ€™ at that point rather undercuts Davidsonâ€™s efforts. Itâ€™s terribly ill-judged and was almost enough to break the film entirely for this viewer. It simply shouldnâ€™t be a sexy moment.
That aside, THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN has almost as much to recommend it as it does to damn it, overall the good outweighs the bad but your appreciation of it will certainly depend on your tolerance to the genre in question.
Arrowâ€™s disc is well-served with features as always, offering lengthy interviews with Davidson, Monsoon, Franklin (hawking her book with the same wild abandon Davidson hawks her body in the film) and cinematographer Adam Greenberg. Now if only there was an alternative soundtrack option I would have got through the ninety minutes without having to inject soap into my ears at regular intervals.