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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sex Drive

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

The all-American sex comedy never really goes away, but, much like many side effects of teen lust, it sometimes requires a shot in the arm. That dose of medicine already mainlined a year ago by Superbad, but Sex Drive sticks to the prescription and offers an energetic if familiar bit of treatment.

It's got the same old sweaty, single-minded horndog focus of such Reagan-era dreck as Losin' It or Private School, but punched up with a modernist layer of ironic detachment and servings of Internet jokes. There's also a heart beating under all the exposed nubile flesh, and a fleeting tenderness, the kind that fueled better '80s romps such as Sixteen Candles.

Fresh-faced Josh Zuckerman is Ian, the sweetly hapless virginal teen who makes what appears to be a love connection online and conspires to "borrow" his jerky older brother's cherry '69 GTO Judge and head to Knoxville for some nookie.

His efforts are goaded by hyper-cocky pal Lance, played with breakout chutzpah by newcomer Clark Duke, who, by the way, could've been formed from Rainn Wilson's baby fat.

The road trip is filled out by tough, Hot Topic refugee Felicia (Amanda Crew), whom Ian secretly has the major hots for but is too much of a weenie to "spoil the friendship."

Wanna bet that wacky open road high jinks ensue? It's a far safer play than the stock market, as the freeway from suburban Chicago to Tennessee is loaded with all sorts of horny, crazy chicks, vengeful hill-jack stereotypes, angry cops and Seth Green as a snarky Amish mechanic with a knack for fixing up vintage muscle cars. Green's very presence is a big wink at the camera and his passive-aggressive wiseass shtick is pretty irresistible, especially when paired with a silly red Abe Lincoln beard and predictable Amish butter-churn gags. James Marsden is also fun as Ian's volcanic big bro, the idiot jock hot-head being an important staple of the genre

Sex Drive is so intent on perfecting the old formula that it revels in its R rating, with plenty of gross-outs and gratuitous nudity — but the cast is so likable they get away with it. Leading the way is funnyman Duke, as a crude, scarf-wearing lothario who's so ridiculously confident his innate nerdiness is his calling card — he's no Mclovin, but he'll do in a pinch.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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