The Virginity Hit
By: Addison Wylie
Creating original comedies aimed towards a teen demographic is not an easy task. Sex and drugs, peer pressure, and crucial life changes are just some of the topics these movies may touch upon. Some filmmakers are able to take the content and spin it into gold. They are able to make the young audiences laugh and sometimes the teenagers walk away with learning something about how to adapt to the “real world”. On the other hand, some of these films are seen as tiresome retreads. These movies try to emulate sharp writing and the chemistry actors had in previous, more successful vehicles all while riding off the success of a similar movie. An example of this was when the gross-out comedy bomb College was released soon after the major success of Superbad. By observing the main topics confronted in The Virginity Hit, it’s easy to lump the comedy into this latter category. However, the film offers some interesting filmmaking tricks that makes itself stand out.
Obviously being influenced by movies such as American Pie and the aforemetioned Superbad, The Virginity Hit is about friendship as well as peer pressure in regards to losing one’s virginity. Matt, played by Matt Bennett, and Zack, played by Zack Pearlman, have known each other for years. They are also friends with Jacob, played by Jacob Davich, and Justin, played by Justin Kline. The boys attend the same high school as well as excessively talk about everything with each other. When Jacob admits to losing his virginity in a car, Zack brings out a considerably fancy bong. While Jacob tokes, the four friends promise each other that whenever a v-card is lost, that ex-virgin will take a hit of weed out of the special bong. Cut to present day and everyone has smoked up except Matt. All is not lost though because Matt is currently dating Nicole, played by Nicole Weaver, and they are both ready to have sex. Zack, who is camera savvy, plans to document the events leading up on tape. However, problems arise when Zack and Matt find out that Nicole has cheated on Matt at a party days before their big date. Single, saddened, and under pressure, Matt, with the help of his friends, must think of an alternate way to lose his virginity.
The one attribute that stands out about the film in particular is the technical authenticity. The two directors Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland go to great lengths to direct the film as if it’s been shot and edited by a film fanatic high schooler. Gurland, who has had practice with this style of filmmaking in his prior feature Frat House, Botko and cinematographer Luke Geissbuhler make use of consumer video cameras and spy cameras from a first person point-of-view. The grainy picture and the unsteadiness of the camera adds to the authenticity and we do believe that this feature was shot and cut by an adolescent. Even the credits reek with an amateur status when they refer to the characters on a first name basis. Even though the film nails its level of visual and audible genuineness, problems are created too. Most of the audio sounds like it’s been captured on the camera microphone. Since both the background audio and the actors are being recorded at the same time, sometimes the actors are drowned out by background extras and music. In a scene where Matt is pouring out his heart to Nicole at a party, Matt can barely be heard over the sounds of drunk teenagers laughing and yelling. That said, Gurland and Botko might have been going for an effect where the facial expressions in the scene represent what is being said. If this was the case, then the audience shouldn’t hear Matt at all and the camera should’ve been positioned farther away; making this shot more of a “fly on the wall”. By faintly hearing Matt, the audience thinks we’re supposed to be paying attention to what he has to say.
The script, which was written by the directors as well, isn’t necessarily a strong highlight. The premise wants to have it’s heart in the right place but ends up coming across as an off-putting set-up. The filmmakers want us to root for Matt. I’m not a prude by any means but because Matt and his friends look like they’re freshmen in high school, it’s hard to cheer for the protagonists considering the material versus their ages. Gurland and Botko are able to create humorous situations but the writing lacks memorable punchlines which results in anticlimactic scenes. Scenes where Matt and his adoptive sister start to flirt with one another are examples in particular to where the filmmakers build up their joke only to have a lacklustre conclusion.
However, the writing in some cases is saved by the chemistry the actors have with each other. The young actors build believable, likeable performances that make you forget the movie is pure fiction. The relationship between Zack and Matt especially feels very genuine.
Even though The Virginity Hit nails it’s look, the film stands out but not by much. Overall, it’s hard to figure out what audiences would gain from seeing this film. It does offer an interesting outlook on how this current YouTube-happy generation may deal with the pressures of growing up. Other than that though, the final product is a bit of a wet noodle offering fun performances but dim comedy.