The Last American Virgin (1982)

19 Jul

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Smith’s Verdict: **

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

Well, I can’t exactly write about “The Last American Virgin” without bringing up some trivial background. This came out in the year 1982, when the “Teenage Sex Movies” craze of the 1980s was making itself known. When “Porky’s” was a big hit with audiences, producers thought to cash in on its success by making their own films that involve horny teenagers (mostly teenage boys who hope to get laid) and a lot of teenage sex. “The Last American Virgin” was released shortly after “Porky’s,” and then came “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (which, mind you, is less crude and more insightful than the other such movies) and then the class of such films began, a great deal of them ranging from mediocre to godawful. How does “The Last American Virgin” fit into the range? Well…a part of me wants people to avoid it at all costs, because a large portion of the movie is either painful or predictable (or painfully predictable or predictably painful). The other part of me…well, I’ll get to that later.

The story: Gary (Lawrence Monoson) is a typical, average high school kid who scopes every pretty girl he spots and pretty much wants to get laid. (And to be fair, despite the title “The Last American Virgin,” the movie isn’t about a desperate attempt for Gary to have sex.) His friends are hunky jerk Rick (Steve Antin) and portly Belushi-esque David (Joe Rubbo), who have more luck than him; Gary usually gets the wrong end of the stick when the boys attempt to get laid. This leads to many comedic moments that are more predictable and groan-worthy than funny and laugh-worthy. First, the boys pick up three girls and bring them to Gary’s house when his parents aren’t home. This exploit leads to embarrassing moments involving bare breasts, a misunderstanding, and, wouldn’t you know it, the surprised arrival of Gary’s parents.

Even more misadventures come as the movie continues. The boys borrow a nerdy friend’s car to make out at a makeout point, and—wouldn’t you know it—the car winds up in the lake. Gary delivers a pizza (he’s a delivery boy) to a sex-crazed woman who promises he’ll get lucky if he comes back, and so he brings Rick and David next time; Rick and David have their time with her, but—wouldn’t you know it—before Gary has his chance, her husband comes home and chases them away. And so on. I can see a lot of “Porky’s” here, and I can see where some of these other “Teenage Sex Movies” gained their inspiration for “comedic highlights.” I won’t even mention the prostitute the boys come across and what that leads to because once you notice a certain shot, you’ll know right away what the punchline is.

Actually, you know what? I don’t want to do that to you, so I’ll just give it away right here. They all have sex with her and they get crabs. That’s it.

These moments are scattered all over “The Last American Virgin” and the bigger problem is that they’re dull and predictable. Every time the punchline came around, I had to say to myself, “Of course.” They’re not very funny; they’re just painful for the most part.

Gary’s crush is a pretty transfer student named Karen (Diane Franklin) whom he tries to get to go out with him. She likes him as a friend, and only has her eyes set on loathsome, studly Rick. Later in the movie, she and Rick have sex, which breaks Gary’s heart. But later, Karen is pregnant and Rick just ignores her and shuts her out because she irritates him. So Gary comes to the aid of poor Karen and pays for an abortion and offers her a place to stay for a while (his grandparents’ house).

Then it seems as if you know how this is going to end, with Gary and Karen winding up together because that’s what we want, after we’ve seen how much Gary genuinely cares for Karen and Karen is starting to like him. At no point can we predict the ending of “The Last American Virgin.” And that’s the main distinction you can get from this otherwise-trashy movie: the ending. You think Gary and Karen are going to be together because that’s how we like our movies to end, and this ending comes along like a punch in the gut. Gary is invited to Karen’s birthday party and he buys her a nice necklace as a gift. He goes to the party, asks David where Karen is, David says she’s in the kitchen, and Gary opens the kitchen door and…Karen is making out with Rick. That’s right—despite what Rick has done and what he put her through, Karen took him back. Gary’s dreams of having a romance with her are shattered, his heart is broken, and he doesn’t even say a word—he just leaves the party, drives home alone in tears, and…the end-credits roll. That’s seriously how “The Last American Virgin” ends: with a downbeat, depressing, true-to-life ending.

Sheesh! Did this movie have test-screenings? I wouldn’t think audiences would have appreciated this before it was released! Even “Tex,” the most credible “teen film” among the group, had an ending more upbeat than this.

If there’s anything can be taken from this movie, it’s that ending. Not the nudity, not the failed comedy, not the poor acting (I’ve seen Lawrence Monoson do a better acting job as the best friend in “Mask,” but here, he lacks strong emotion—and no one else is any better), not even the early-‘80s soundtrack (by the way, they play the same songs over and over again to create “themes”; it’s pretty distracting). It’s the ending. That’s the only thing I can take from this movie, which is otherwise deplorable and ineffective. I think that’s why I give it a two-star rating instead of a one. The film did try and bring some solidness and honesty to the mix, and I give the filmmakers credit for that because “Porky’s” was too focused on nudity, crudeness, sex, and hi-jinks to care for anything else. “The Last American Virgin” is not a film I recommend, but it is a film I can respect in certain cases.

 

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