In the world of raunchy teen sex comedies, very few are ever worth viewing. Every once and awhile you’ll get a film like American Pie that’s as funny as it is lewd, but for the most part the films are almost always just about showing the most flesh and making the loudest fart jokes. This isn’t always a bad thing for the audience that the films primarily target, but for anyone who actually likes to genuinely laugh at funny jokes…well, often they’re so disappointed that they bemoan the fact they had to watch the films because of a significant other or group of friends who decided it would be a good idea to spend $10 on a sex romp comedy. Thankfully those who were the target of Sex Drive were more than entertained—and it may even spread out to those who didn’t expect to enjoy it as well.
Ian has a decision: stay home and stay a virgin or drive 800 miles to lose it with an online hottie. Decision made. Now Ian (Josh Zuckerman) and his horn-dog buddy Lance (Clark Duke) are off on a sex safari…with “BFF” baggage Felicia (Amanda Crew) in tow. Their epic quest features a stolen GTO, kinky trailer park sex, a prison fight, topless Abstinence Xtreme dancers, a smart-ass Amish super-mechanic (Seth Green), a gun-wielding Mexican donutand Ian’s “d-bag” brother (James Marsden) in hot pursuit.
Yeah, the film sounds stupid and really it does nothing original in the sex comedy escapade, but there’s something that this film has that so many other poor excuses for comedies of this style simply don’t. And what is it? Heart. This film manages to pile on the foul language, copious amounts of female nudity and the usual round of jokes that offend grandma, but at the same time it’s a genuinely sweet film at its core. Ok, so that’s not why the majority of the viewers are going to see it, and the ending is predictable as all get out, but that doesn’t make the viewing of it any less appealing.
The best I can liken this film to is the aforementioned American Pie. Although this film does quite a bit less that’s original when compared to Pie, it has the same kind of “this is not only funny, but well written too” feeling going for it. In-between laughter you actually get caught up in the characters and their emotions, which is something that is genuinely rare for this type of film. I didn’t have much of an opinion about the film going into it (I had, after all, been subjected to a few American Pie DTVs), but by the end of it I was genuinely entertained by it.
What helped was the film had a Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist vibe in terms of dialogue being spouted by the “teens” in the film (in typical fashion, the teens look more like they’re in their early 20’s than anything), so it didn’t feel cluttered with jock talk or idiot speak that I’d grown used to from the dusting of other crap films that fit into this genre. In a way it was also like Superbad (which I didn’t actually love as much as other Apatow films; entertaining, yes…but not the better of the productions).
But it also had its gimmicky cameos, all of which worked out. James Marsden and Seth Green especially were absolutely hilarious. Marsden as the jerk older brother with the cool car (and it really was a cool car…man, what a nice GTO) and Seth Green as a sarcastic amish mechanic were two of the best performances in all of the film. Not to shortchange the main cast either, as Josh Zuckerman, Amanda Crew, and Clark Duke were all fantastic as well, but the “celebrities” in the film were downright hilarious.
Needless to say I was more than impressed with the quality of this film. I’m sure we’ll be inundated with these “modern” teen comedies with their internet-slang permeating every scene (as if we weren’t already drowning in it, but at least this film kept it to a minimum for the most part), but for now this film is a tad bit unique in that while it piles on the warrantless nudity (especially the unrated version…right from the very beginning), it’s still a worthwhile outing because it genuinely makes you laugh.
The unrated version of the film, running a full 20 minutes longer (and with a different aspect ratio; R-rated was 1.78:1, while the unrated was 1.85:1…very weird) and with an intro by writers Sean Anders and John Morris that includes a set of breasts and an eyeful of male genitalia. Needless to say it’s an interesting way to spend the first twenty seconds of a film and the rest of the film’s expanded portion (which the director’s beg you to watch the rated version before the unrated…which I can’t tell if it was serious or not) is mostly just dialogue additions and extended sequences. None of the new material really hurts or adds to the film in any way, but…yes, there is more nudity. Honestly I could go for either version, there isn’t a huge difference between them to me.
Overall Sex Drive was certainly a surprising outing. I didn’t expect something nearly as well-crafted as it was and it’s definitely a step above the other sea of crap in the teen comedy genre. Recommended.
Sex Drive: Unrated and Cream-filled (yeah that subtitles a bit much) arrives on Blu-ray in a single disc Elite case (apparently there’s a three-disc DVD edition exclusive to Best Buy, for those who really loved this movie). There are no inserts inside, but the art underneath the embossed/foil reflective cardboard slipcover is actually different for once, so the o-ring actually serves a purpose this time. The disc art is that of a sprinkled donut and menus are set up as computer-style screen. There is a humorous quote on the back of the box, stating that this is “The Funniest, Greatest and Best Unrated DVD of all Time!**” Searching for the **’s on the box art eventually leads you to a blob of text that says “Seriously? You’re really reading this small type. Wow, nothing better to do, huh?” Again, not entirely original, but funny. Also kind of strange that they referred to the Blu-ray as a DVD but hey…
The films AVC encoded transfer is pretty basic for a standard comedy of this type, with solid colors and clarity from beginning to end. I should also mention that the film sports a unique “pop-up” video style anytime Ian’s character uses a computer or phone for communicating with “Ms. Tasty;” it’s reminiscent of the pop-ups used in Stranger than Fiction, with a floaty style used. Nothing major, but it translates well to the screen and the transfer helps in that it doesn’t drip any compression over the text on screen. The audio, a standard DD5.1 mix (for both films) is nothing major, with a little bit of subwoofer and surround usage when Fallout Boy shows up (perhaps the films strangest and most obvious attempt to appeal to a wider audience), but for the most part the dialogue driven film is kept to the front channels. Though that GTO does get a few moments of rumble in there as well.
Extras are actually pretty slim for this film, but considering its box office intake (under $14 million worldwide), I guess it’s not too surprising. Still, we have a Filmmaker Audio Commentary that is really a delight to listen to, as Andrews and Morris clearly not only had a lot of fun making the film but also were really passionate about the project. The remainder of the extras are pretty short and include a quick Sex Drive: Making a Masterpiece (11:42), an extra that focuses on Marsden in The Marsden Dilemma (4:49) and a final extra that profiles Duke in Clark: Duke of the Internet (3:59). These are all in standard definition and are in a tongue-in-cheek style where everyone is ripping on one another for being jerks, idiots, unprofessional, etc. etc. Again, something that the Apatow DVD extras have been doing for awhile…but then again, not all of Apatow’s extras are entirely like this, so in that way this release is unique at least.
Overall the extras could be a bit more robust (no Bloopers? Deleted scenes?), but considering the success this film enjoyed (read: none), I’m not going to fault it too much. Overall this release is still Recommended. It won’t blow you away with originality, but it does a solid job of making you laugh and that’s all that matters when it comes to comedies.
Sex Drive: Unrated and Cream-filled is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.