Miss March: Worth Missing

Miss March is a 90-minute road trip sex comedy from Fox Searchlight Pictures. As with other examples of the genre, like Road Trip and Sex Drive, you pretty much know what you're getting: naked breasts, some swear words, off-color jokes, and gross-out humor, and you can expect it won't be a very good movie. That's pretty much what it is, except that it's worse than you'd expect, even if you expected it to be bad. It's actually pleasantly bad for the first hour, but the last half hour is nearly humorless, and feels twice as long.

But the first problem is pretty glaring: there's no actual sex. Maybe it's because of the inexperience of co-directors/co-writers/co-stars Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore, but not having actual sex scenes in a sex comedy is like not having anyone die in a war movie.

The basic plot is this: Cregger and Moore play two childhood best friends, Eugene Bell and Tucker Cleigh, who grow up thinking about girls. Bell's high school girlfriend is played by Raquel Alessi, a beauty who -- in a lovely twist -- is desperate to sleep with the virginal Eugene, who wants to save himself for marriage. Finally he agrees to sleep with her after prom, drinks heavily to give himself courage, and then falls down the basement stairs, gets hit by a toolbox and a falling shelf, and drops into a coma for four years. Abandoned by everyone but Cleigh, who wakes him by beating him with a baseball bat, he learns that his girlfriend has become a Playboy Playmate, and they set off for the Playboy Mansion for a reunion.

Eugene wants to save himself because he and his hot girlfriend do abstinence seminars for high school freshmen. The seminar is one of the funniest parts of the movie. It's one of the rare times when they go as far with a joke as they could. Strangely for a sex comedy, perhaps one of the movie's biggest problems is it's too timid: there's no actual sex, not nearly enough violence, not nearly as over the top as it could be.

They could have done a lot more with the stair scene. As it is, it looks painful and is over quickly. They should have had a lot more pain, so that his fall would set off a Rube Goldberg chain reaction of suffering. They stopped too soon, and an opportunity for a joke passed by. At least it was quickly paced.

They have to get out of town because Tucker angered his girlfriend, whose brother is a psychotic fireman. The firemen are the best running gag in the movie. As Tucker and Eugene drive cross country, they are pursued by fire trucks in every state, menaced by firemen in full fireproof uniform, wielding fire hoses and throwing fire axes. Homicidal mania is always funny. The problem is that the running gag only works while they're on the run. Once they get to the mansion, as with everything else, the funny dries up.

Craig Robinson, from The Office and the Judd Apatow troupe, shows up as a high school friend who's now a rapper with an unprintable name. He immediately offers to drop everything and drive the two to the Playboy Mansion. He's one of the movie's few known actors, other than Hugh Hefner. He's pretty funny in a small role, particularly his repetitive, filthy songs, which get played while they visit him.

One other member of the Judd Apatow troupe is in the movie: Davon McDonald, last seen as the bartender in Forgetting Sarah Marshall who said that Jason Segel was "like Gandhi. But better." Here, he's a bouncer whose main job is to look huge and mean while he identifies, interrogates, and kicks out all potential stalkers. He does look huge and mean. Unfortunately, that's about it. Nice actor, hope he has more to do next time.

One more actor we've seen before is Cedric Yarbrough of Reno 911!, playing a doctor who's impressed with Tucker's baseball bat coma therapy. He's another TV actor who may be hoping to break into movies. Hope he keeps trying.

Hugh Hefner makes a cameo appearance, playing the same role that Stan Lee did in Mallrats: a legend who dispenses a few nostrums of his life's philosophy to try to get the main character to reconcile with his girlfriend. The lesson, like everything else in the scenes at the Mansion, feels forced, unearned, and uninteresting.

There are a few jokes that work, and Zach Cregger does a pretty nice job. He and Trevor Moore have good chemistry, although Zach's the better actor. Hardcore fans of the show The Whitest Kids U' Know may want to check it out, though not for full price. For everyone else: just rent Animal House.