By John Latchem | Posted: 19 Jan 2009
Prebook 1/20/09; Street 2/24/09
Box Office $8.4 million
$26.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for crude and sexual content, nudity, language, some drug and alcohol use — all involving teens. Unrated version also available.
Stars Josh Zuckerman, Amanda Crew, Clark Duke, Seth Green, James Marsden, Katrina Bowden.
This latest entry in the pantheon of teenage sex comedies is based on the young-adult novel All the Way by Andy Behrens. Producer Bob Levy in the film’s commentary relates how attempts to adapt the book into a movie met with several unsuccessful pitches, which is somewhat surprising.
The concept is not entirely original, but the end result is pretty funny. Sex Drive displays shades of American Pie, Road Trip, Eurotrip and Kingpin, neatly blended into a delicious smoothie of vulgarity.
The story involves 18-year-old virgin Ian (Josh Zuckerman), who is told by chat-room lover Ms. Tasty (Katrina Bowden of “30 Rock”) that if he drives his brother’s 1969 GTO from Chicago to Knoxville, Tenn., she will have sex with him. Ian is joined on this trip by his best friends Lance (Duke), an unlikely ladies man, and Felicia (Crew), with whom Ian is secretly in love, while she has a crush on Lance but may secretly be in love with Ian.
According to the dictates of this tried-and-true formula, we know the following probably will happen:
1. The trio will encounter wacky characters in a wild adventure;
2. The vintage car will at some point be severely damaged;
3. The boy and girl at the center of the story will fall in love.
Upon this predictable framework co-writers John Morris and Sean Anders (who also directs) hang a series of gags that are often hilarious but more than likely to offend somebody. It’s to their credit that we actually find ourselves caring about these characters.
A highlight is Seth Green playing an Amish version of, well, Seth Green. Key scenes take place during the Amish festival of Rumspringa, which according to the filmmakers allows Amish teens to run wild and engage in all manners of debauchery before committing to a chaste life.
The DVD includes two versions of the movie, with an informative commentary attached to the ‘R’-rated theatrical cut. Novice filmmakers Anders and Morris admit that all they know about making movies they learned from commentary tracks, particularly those of Farrelly Brothers films.
The flip side includes a special ‘fans only’ edition, which is basically a parody of tame ‘unrated’ cuts that don’t do much more than add a few minutes of deleted scenes.
The Sex Drive unrated cut adds nearly 20 minutes of footage, beginning with an awkward introduction by Anders and Morris, who make a plea to anyone looking for a shred of artistic integrity to view the theatrical version. They have a point. This version is loaded with gratuitous nudity (both male and female), filthy language, and rapid-fire outtakes that other movies would include as alternate takes. The film borrows from the Judd Apatow school, relying heavily on improv and high-energy free association.
The bonus disc includes three short featurettes. One takes a look at Green’s role. “The Passion of James and Clark” contains a bizarre interview with Duke and James Marsden (The X-Men), who plays Ian’s brother. The third is an exclusive performance by Fall Out Boy, who put in a cameo during the Amish party.