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MOVIE REVIEW

The Virginity Hit

‘Virginity Hit’ replaces intimacy with humorless voyeurism

By Ty Burr
Globe Staff / September 17, 2010

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If a band of radical fundamentalist terrorists had $10, a video camera, and an urge to portray the self-absorbed decadence — the sheer narcissistic rot — of American youth, they couldn’t do any better than “The Virginity Hit.’’ You want to know why they hate us? This is why.

A repellent little “comedy’’ from writer-directors Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland and executive producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, the movie’s being marketed as “American Pie’’ for the Facebook generation. It’s more like “ ‘Porky’s’ for Dummies,’’ a thoroughly depressing teen farce in which Internet voyeurism has replaced human intimacy and where privacy is so 20th century.

The mockumentary conceit is that we’re watching the handheld videos of Zack (Zack Pearlman), a fat, obnoxious New Orleans high schooler intent on documenting his nerdy best friend and adopted brother Matt (Matt Bennett) as the latter goes about losing his virginity. Matt’s the last one in the crowd to go; the title refers to the righteous ceremonial bong hit he’ll take upon attaining manhood.

There’s a long-suffering girl-friend named Nicole (Nicole Weaver) whom Matt sets up for global Internet humiliation after learning she may have been unfaithful; the scene makes you cringe for everyone involved. Zack subsequently tries to hook his friend up with an online hottie (Savannah Welch) who’s not what she seems, and then with Matt’s favorite porn star Sunny Leone (played by porn star Sunny Leone), who, ironically, is the most appealing and natural person in the entire movie. All of the zany shenanigans go out on YouTube and are commented on by a universe of digital kibitzers.

This, implies “The Virginity Hit,’’ is the new reality: Everything is theater, everything’s a joke, and the joke’s on you. It might work as satire, and there are one or two moments where Botko and Gurland let slip how shallow and sad they think their characters actually are, but they’re too afraid of alienating the only demographic that might pay to see this rancid meta-farce. (Hate to break it to you, guys, but most of your audience will be watching the pirated copy they got off LimeWire.)

One of the problems with “The Virginity Hit’’ is that everyone in it is hateful, especially the two leads, who come across as Jonah Hill and Christopher “McLovin’’ Mintz-Plasse from “Superbad’’ recast as charmless dolts. The supporting roles and extras, male and female alike, have the dull, entitled stares of mall-fed cattle. The one character who doesn’t seem stupid or drunk is the girlfriend, and for that she’s punished.

The larger problem is that the movie’s portrait of a generation neurotically obsessed with broadcasting and watching itself is funny only if you work really hard not to think about it. Give the matter even a second’s contemplation and it feels like the death of the soul. But that’s giving “The Virginity Hit’’ more power than it deserves: It’s just a crasser-than-usual sex comedy aimed at an audience that has never had sex. Ignore it and with any luck it’ll crawl off and die.

Ty Burr can be reached at tburr@globe.com. For more on movies, go to www.boston.com/movienation.

THE VIRGINITY HIT Written and directed by: Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland

Starring: Matt Bennett, Zack Pearlman, Nicole Weaver, Krysta Rodriguez

At: Boston Common, Fenway, suburbs

Running time: 86 minutes

Rated: R (strong crude and sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, drug use, enfeebled suburban entitlement)

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