Sex Drive Directed by: Sean Anders Cast: Josh Zuckerman, Amanda Crew, Clark Duke, James Marsden Time: 1 hr 45 min Rating: R
Plot: A sweet, virginal nerd (Josh Zuckerman) and his silver-tongued best friend (Clark Duke) steals his brother’s (James Marsden) 1969 GTO to meet a girl he met on the internet, and (hopefully) get some tail.
Who’s It For? Primarily, teenagers. The film won’t have mass appeal for an older crowd, unless the older crowd in question has absolutely nothing else to do and unusually low expectations.
Expectations: Based solely on the charm of the previews, I thought this film could be a little comedic gem, which is why you don’t base your judgment on previews. I promise to get help before I start slavishly believing all commercials and everything I read. That being said, I’m off to buy some Clearasil, so I don’t die alone.
Josh Zuckerman as Ian: Zuckerman is cute and likable, but ultimately, like every other sweet, aw-shucks virgin geek you see in these types of movies. Actually, Ian is so meek and downtrodden, the men in the audience (including my own friend) started to exude hostile testosterone in order to counteract Zuckerman’s timidity. “Who the hell is actually like that?” the angry men chanted, and then they started smashing beer cans on their heads and looking around for a college football game to scream at. Score: 2
Amanda Crew as Felicia: Felicia is the stock free spirit, shoe-horned into the story so our blah hero has an equally blah heroine to pine after. Blah. Score: 1
Clark Duke as Lance: Duke managed to pull off a performance that is so fresh and original, it’s too obvious to say he stole every scene (actually, if it wasn’t for Marsden, he might have stolen the whole movie out from underneath the rest of the cast). Lance is short and doughy, but via smarts and indomitable confidence, he’s also an extremely capable Don Juan. Mellow to the point of near-psychopathology, Lance takes any situation in his calm and self-assured stride, including mechanical breakdowns, distressed ladies and their angry boyfriends, and jail. Duke gives the character a feeling of genuine substance, instead of mere empty bravado, and at the end of the movie, you find yourself wishing you could be more like him. Score: 7
James Marsden as Rex: Marsden has so much fun as the obnoxious, bigoted, and loud-mouthed Rex, he ends up in a dead heat with Duke for the most scenes stolen. Marsden completely abandons all traces of weepy X-Men angst in favor of a cocky ignoramus in a muscle shirt and hammerpants. Marsden channels both Chet from Weird Science, and a dumber, meaner Rush Limbaugh. He’s also given the best one-liners. Score: 7
Talking: Surprisingly, the dialogue is often sharp and funny. The movie is brimming with original one-liners, which is saying something, since the typical “cool” vernacular in movies is almost always recycled a thousand times over. There are three golden nuggets tucked away in a fairly mediocre teen film, and the dialogue is one of them. Favorite quote (Marsden to Zuckerman): “Every man has fantasies about another man, but you gotta bury that shit deep down inside. This is America, Ian.” Score: 7
Sights & Sounds: Sex Drive doesn’t really offer anything other than “functional.” The scenes manage to get you from point A to point B with little confusion, but there’s no complimentary creativity involved. The soundtrack is excellent, but relied on too heavily to tell a story via unnecessary montages. Score: 2
Best Scene: Warning! All my favorite scenes were hugely puerile; so, at the risk of sounding like someone who still laughs at booger jokes (and I do), my favorite scene involved a balled up pair of jockey shorts, what was in those jockey shorts (splut!) and Ian’s stepmother going ass over teakettle after slipping on the jockey shorts. It’s very complex and involved and sophisticated, so I won’t go into a lot of detail.
Ending: Blech. Fifteen minutes into the movie, you already know how it’s going to end. You’ve seen the ending over and over and it stopped being satisfying a long time ago. Obviously, no one wants a big bummer ending, either, but you can do the happily-ever-after without gagging the audience. If you want an unusual love story involving a road trip and a damned good happily-ever-after, please see “Wrist Cutters: A Love Story.”
Questions: Who cares? Why can't every scene have Marsden and Clark in it? Did the screenwriters come up with the dialogue first and then just tape the story on around it? Why isn't this movie about Lance? Does this genre of movie always need the obligatory "cat fight" scene, and if so, why is that? Discuss.
Rewatchability: The entire film, no— but nine or ten really funny scenes, you bet, I'd sit through those again. If you can manage those handful of scenes without spending any money, you’re ahead of the game.
OVERALL Sex Drive falls into the cotton ball category of filmmaking. It's fluffy, cute, and harmless and if you glue it to black construction paper, you can make a rudimentary ghost for a Halloween decoration. In short, it's nonthreatening and mildly entertaining. I'd recommend using it as a distraction from the tanking economy, except that would mean paying money for it, which would just depress you more. So, what you have is a forgettable flick with one exceptionally original character (Lance) and one incredibly funny character (Rex), and a group of standard cardboard fixtures that go through the motions of being three-dimensional. The film was destined for fluff, but it could've been salvaged from being so unextraordinary if the writers had just pulled the trigger on the tacked-on love story. Why not make Felicia a lesbian to avoid the wonder bread boy-meets-girl formula? The screenwriters should collaborate with a writer who can tell a cohesive story, so they can focus on what they do best--immature and offensive dialogue.
Final Score: 4/10