Sunday, April 17, 2011

Screw This: "American Virgin" (2000)

American VirginIn order to cash in on the overnight success of actress Mena Suvari, the producers behind this awful film changed the name from "Live Virgin" to "American Virgin," perhaps hoping some poor schmuck out there would mistake this for the Kevin Spacey Oscar winner or the stupid but financially successful teen sex comedy. They should be ashamed of themselves for filming and releasing this at all.

This celluloid nightmare contains three Oscar nominees who should have known better. Bob Hoskins and Robert Loggia are rival middle aged porn producers. Loggia stole Hoskins's wife Alexandra Wentworth, so Hoskins steals Loggia's daughter Suvari (so to speak). In order to get back at daddy, Suvari decides to lose her virginity online courtesy of Hoskins' money, and a dopey cyber suit that will let subscribers physically feel what Suvari's lover will feel. So far, so bad. I used to rebel by missing curfews, this is just plain ridiculous. Toss in the grating Sally Kellerman as a talk show host who breaks the story, and Gabriel Mann is her son and Suvari's ex-boyfriend.

After a fight on the live talk show, Loggia and Hoskins are tossed in the pokey. Mann tries desperately to find Suvari to tell her he still loves her. Hoskins and Loggia are sadly not executed for their crimes, but released. They desperately try to find Suvari. The entire movie consists of actors desperately trying to find Suvari, who hides out at another porn star's house. At one point, this mommy porn star refers to her toddler as an "occupational hazard"...I'll stop here while you convulse with laughter...okay?...anyway, the day of the big shoot has come.

Hoskins now sports a tattoo of his impotent manhood on his forehead, courtesy of Loggia and his henchman. Suvari's cyber lover is hurt in a bike accident, and Hoskins decides to sleep with her...and then the real high jinks ensue. Not since "Star Wars" has a film careened toward such a breathtaking conclusion, full of hope for the future and love for our fellow man...I'll stop. Esai Morales has a pointless scene as a gay film director who idolizes Loggia. Esai should have stuck around to screen this film, since they spell his first name "Essai" in the opening credits.

Loggia and Hoskins spend the entire film yelling the F word at each other. Neither is likable, yet neither dies a horrible death either, despite my prayerful efforts. Director Marois could not frame a decent shot to save his life. I have seen better production values from the local university's broadcasting department's news show on public access. Watch for a scene where Mann gets out of a taxi, and a boom microphone's reflection is clearly visible in the cab's roof.

Marois also cowrote the screenplay, perhaps trying to put a satirical screwball spin on the porn world. Too bad no one takes the porn world seriously enough to want to see it skewered by some second rate film maker who hasn't an original thought to put on the screen. Look for porn star Ron Jeremy as a cop, proving once again that all his talent is contained below his waist.

"American Virgin" is loud, dumb, and unfunny. Suvari was one of the best things about "American Pie," but here she looks embarassed. She should be. I do not recommend it. (*) out of five stars.