The Internet was born out of the Cuban missile crisis. Military planners were confronted with the question of how to maintain command and control during a nuclear war. A decentralized method of electronic communication was proposed, leading to a communications system that could transport information long distances almost instantaneously.
All of that danger. All of that ingenuity. All of that technology. All so that a foursome of jerks could film and share the end of their friend’s virginity on Youtube.
And when I say jerks, I really do mean jerks about the unsympathetic characters in The Virginity Hit. Sometimes we let young people off the hook too easily, hoping they will grow out of their childish impulses and one day transform into a productive clockmaker. Not on my watch. When you secretly film and record sex with your girlfriend – or worse, when you don’t have the guts to tell your friends not to record it – you deserve your teenage virginal tragedy.
This intentionally obnoxious comedy, produced by Will Ferrell and his frequent collaborator Adam McKay, takes inspiration in the casual sadism of the teenage years. Its boorishness passes with little reflection or commentary, accepting the world of digestible Internet voyeurism.
The voyeurism is perpetuated through a fake documentary style familiar to its codirectors, Andrew Gurland and Hunt Botko (The Last Exorcism; also reviewed here). The film uses unknown actors, shoots on handheld cameras, and imitates a Youtube video. In films like The Blair Witch Project, this style conjures a heightened state of reality. In films like This Is Spinal Tap, it serves as an ironic framing device for the absurdity. This one has too many implausible moments to be the former, and too few laughs to effectively do the latter.
I was reading a John Hughes quote the other day about teenage life. He described it as the period of time when each person takes life most seriously. It’s true that Hughes made his share of hormonally charged movies, but his characters often possessed serious and vulnerable sides rarely spotted in today’s teen movies. Watching The Virginity Hit, I wondered, do these kids have thoughts? Do they talk about life? Or is every minute consumed with sex, drugs and Youtube?