This is a story that has been done to death, and one that I'm not particularly interested in seeing re-told on film. The Virginity Hit is yet another movie about a kid losing his virginity while all of his sexed-up friends cheer him on. I should be too old for this. I should be immune to the obligatory scene where the virgin buys his first condom or the now-popular pubic hair-shaving moment. The Virginity Hit has all of those tired scenes and more. Funny thing is, I liked it.
I still don't fully understand why The Virginity Hit manages to work, despite the fact that it brings almost nothing new to the table. I've got some good guesses though. The tricky chemistry of a likable, funny ensemble cast is the biggest thing The Virginity Hit has going for it. These kids combined with a surprisingly honest point-of-view from the filmmaking duo of Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland (the screenwriters behind the slightly more scary The Last Exorcism) infuse the movie with an energy that I wasn't quite expecting. It's a sneaky one.
The secret weapons here are actors Matt Bennett, playing the titular innocent, and Zack Pearlman, his loutish best friend (following in the footsteps of Superbad's winning dynamic). Due to the loose, documentary-style approach to the story, the actors use their own names for their characters and many of the scenes blur the line between scripted action, polished improvisation, and real-world action and reaction. I'm not sure how much of Matt and Zack, the actors, are in Matt and Zack, the characters, and it's a testament to the filmmakers that The Virginity Hit feels so true (but rarely real -- the situations the kids find themselves in range from painfully adolescent to sex-fantasy ludicrous, without ever betraying the characters or story).
The actual "virginity hit" of the title is a hit from a ceramic devil-woman bong, brought out only on the special occasion when one of the clique loses his virginity. The last virgin in the circle is Matt, but after two years of monogamy with his girlfriend Nicole, he's ready to make a move. Waiting in the wings, videocamera constantly in hand, is Zack, not only ready to film Matt's big moment, but ready to force a situation should Matt change his mind. Matt, of course, changes his mind.
Nicole has a questionable sexual dalliance in her recent past, and Matt reacts to it with typical teenage angst and drama. Is he justified? Maybe not, but his reaction feels genuine, as misguided and emotional as it may be. Suddenly, Zack's on the case, goading Matt into unbelievable situations that will seemingly guarantee his loss of personal purity. Almost nothing goes as planned.
It didn't win me over from the first frame, but by the time the credits rolled I was ready to see more from this gang. There are some hilarious subtle moments, sprinkled throughout some of the longer, broader gags, that really stick. Maybe the teen sex comedy isn't completely worn out after all. Maybe all it needed was a smidgen of emotional truth and some fresh-faced kids that actually look and behave like actual kids.