SEX DRIVE: A Nice Surprise
SEX DRIVE (comedy)
Cast: Josh Zuckerman, Amanda Crew, Clark Duke, James Marsden, Seth Green, Alice Greczyn and Katrina Bowden
Director: Sean Anders
Time: 100 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? After watching sex comedies like American Pie and The Sure Thing, you should know by now that the most dreaded 'ailment' among American youth is virginity. It may be a virtue in the preteen years but when the youngsters hit 17 or 18, virginity is like social cancer that needs to be removed immediately.
WHAT"S IT ABOUT? That is how it is with Ian Lafferty (Josh Zuckerman), an 18-year-old hotbed of raging hormones who is still a virgin. Ian is handsome - and even cute to some girls - but he is not into casual relationships because he has a crush for childhood friend Felicia (Amanda Crew). Felicia, however, has romantic feelings for Ian's best friend Lance (Clark Duke) but the sentiment is not reciprocated. Lance, meanwhile, makes it his life's mission to help Ian lose his virginity.
When Ian's Internet chat friend nicknamed Ms Tasty (Katrina Bowden) offers to meet him for a one-night stand in Knoxville, Tennessee, Lance feels that the offer is too good to pass up. 'Borrowing' Ian's brother's (James Marsden) 1969 Pontiac GTO, the two boys start off on a nine-hour road trip to Ian's sex date - with Felicia tagging along!
HITS & MISSES: Up to here, Sex Drive sounds rather formulaic and predictable - sort of like American Pie meets The Road Trip and The Sure Thing. I wouldn't blame you if you think it is a copycat or 'recycled' teen flick. Thankfully, it is not. Sex Drive, written by (director) Sean Anders and John Morris, is based on the novel, All The Way by Andy Behrens. Sure, it has its share of toilet jokes and urinating gags, and some really gross-out scenes but then they are the staple of teen comedies these days.
Under Anders' direction, Sex Drive does not strive to transcend low- brow and gutter comedy, it just makes it look fresher here. There are some sequences at an Amish camp which offer new and interesting insights into Amish life. Here, Seth Green plays Ezekiel, the Amish car mechanic who has returned to his community after spending some time in the secular world. However, Green's role is not a comedic one, it is more like an advertisement for Amish generosity and sacrifice.
On the other hand, Marsden's portrayal of Ian's elder brother, Rex, really goes over-the-top and he manages to get a few laughs. However, what make Sex Drive likeable are its touching moments, such as a heart-to-heart chat between Ian and Lance where the latter acknowledges that he knows about Felicia's feelings for him but will never act upon them because he knows she has a place in Ian's heart. This is the kind of stuff that one rarely finds in sex comedies.
In the acting department, the lead trio are charming and endearing enough to have the audience rooting for them. A few nude and unsavoury scenes have been censored for Malaysian cinemas but they should not disrupt the storyflow.
THE LOWDOWN: What I like about Sex Drive is that just when we think we have seen them all, it comes up with something that surprises us.