** (out of 5)
March 13, 2009
Zach Cregger as EUGENE BELL
Trevor Moore as TUCKER CLEIGH
Raquel Alessi as CINDI WHITEHALL
Molly Stanton as CANDACE
Craig Robinson as HORSEDICK.MPEG
Hugh M. Hefner as HIMSELF
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Directed by: Zach Cregger & Trevor Moore
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
As a regular guy who enjoys mainstream movies, I have a soft spot for a good raunchy comedy. You know what I’m talking about… things like last year’s “Sex Drive,” the original “Porky’s” and pretty much anything from the Judd Apatow or Kevin Smith playbook.
However, just as I’m a fan of these kind of films, I also am painfully aware of movies that try too hard to be raunchy but never manage to make a decent movie.
From the trailer stage, I felt that the movie “Miss March” was trying too hard to be the next “Superbad” or “Knocked Up.” It’s a buddy comedy with plenty of gross-out humor – including explosive defecation scenes and other sundry bodily fluid humor. It’s not that I’m offended by this sort of thing as I have laughed hysterically at its use in better films. What bothered me about “Miss March” was that it wasn’t even funny when it happened.
The film tells the story of two childhood friends who have been obsessed with sex their whole life. Eugene Bell (Zach Cregger) has decided to take the high road, going the abstinence route with his girlfriend Cindi (Raquel Alessi). Tucker Cleigh (Trevor Moore) has hopped to the other side of the fence, idolizing the female form in Playboy all his life and leaping from one crazy sex-life to another.
On Eugene’s senior prom, he promises Cindi that they will “do it.” However, as he’s prepping for the night with Tucker, he gets so drunk that he hits his head and goes into a coma for four years. After he wakes up, he discovers that Cindi has become a Playboy Playmate (who inexplicably doesn’t appear nude, on screen or in the magazine), so he and Tucker make a cross-country trip to the Playboy mansion so Eugene can hook up with her again.
“Miss March” is written and directed by Cregger and Moore, who are most famous for their involvement in the IFC sketch comedy troupe “The Whitest Kids You Know.” They can definitely do short-form sketch comedy, but their handle on the 90-minute movie has a bit to be desired.
Their biggest stumbling block is putting themselves in the starring roles of the film. Cregger is okay as the straight man, but Moore’s attempt at the wacky character backfires more times than it works. He’s sporting a definite Ace Venture look and struggling to do an over-the-top Jim Carrey impersonation. Sadly, it doesn’t work as well as it could have, and things might have been better off if he had done something more original.
Overall, I just didn’t feel for the characters as much as I had the characters in other gross out and raunchy comedies. The key to a good comedy, which both Cregger and Moore don’t have a solid grasp upon, is that the lead characters have to be warm and inviting. This is something that other filmmakers like Judd Apatow and Kevin Smith have learned long ago. It’s not just about how much fluids you can excrete on the screen. It’s about caring for the main characters and getting you to root for them in the end.
Still, on one hand, I do commend Cregger and Moore for putting together their own film and managing to score with the Playboy crowd (although a character like Tucker Cleigh would probably be more into a hardcore magazine like Hustler or Club than the almost soft-core Playboy). It’s a shame that Hugh Hefner is such a godawful actor, or his cameo would have been so much better.
If you’re dying for a raunchy comedy, you’d be better off catching “Fired Up!,” which has been in the theaters for a few weeks already. But you could still do worse than “Miss March,” but you can do a lot better on DVD.