March 13, 2009

Miss March

half

A movie review by James Berardinelli



Miss March

COMEDY:

United States, 2009

U.S. Release Date:

2009-03-13

Running Length:

1:30

MPAA Classification:

R (Profanity, Sexual Situations, Drugs, Nudity)

Theatrical Aspect Ratio:

1.85:1

Cast:

Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore, Raquel Alessi, Molly Stanton, Craig Robinson, Hugh M. Hefner

Director:

Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore

Screenplay:

Zach Cregger & Trevor Moore

Cinematography:

Anthony B. Richmond

Music:

Jeff Cardoni

U.S. Distributor:

Fox Atomic

Subtitles:

none


It's Friday the 13th - Figures. Where's Jason when you need him?

In order to see Miss March, which was not screened for critics, I spent 90 minutes trapped in a multiplex auditorium on the day it opened. For about the first half-hour, I tried to be optimistic, thinking things certainly had to get better. For the next 30 minutes, I prayed that the projector would break. For the balance of the movie, I felt like crying out, "Please God, just let it end!" There were a total of ten people in the theater, and all of them stayed until it was over. I know why I didn't leave, but I can't figure out what was wrong with the other nine. Maybe there's a masochist convention in town?

This is bad. Not bad in a way that it might be fun to see when inebriated. Bad in a way from which only death provides immunity. Forget waterboarding - just show Guantanamo detainees Miss March and they'll say anything. Or maybe pair it with The Hottie and the Nottie, although that would be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Even though it's only March, I'm prepared to go out on a limb and declare this the worst movie of the year. (It helps that Friedberg & Seltzer don't have any 2009 releases scheduled, although I'm sure Uwe Boll has a title or two in the pipeline.) If something worse arrives in theaters between now and December, I don't want to experience it. I can only take one of these a year.

Miss March wants to be a sex comedy, a road trip movie, and a romantic comedy all rolled into one. I was going to describe it as Rip Van Winkle meets the '80s hit song "Centerfold" until I realized what a monumental insult that would be to Washington Irving and the J. Geils Band. The film introduces us to Eugene Bell (Zach Cregger) and Tucker Cleigh (Trevor Moore) as kids, then catches up to them on prom night. Eugene, a staunch advocate of abstinence, is about to lose his virginity to his girlfriend of 30 months, Cindi (Raquel Alessi). He's nervous, drinks too much, falls down a flight of stairs and ends up in a coma for the next four years. When he awakens, he discovers that his father has abandoned him and his girlfriend is a Playboy centerfold. Only Tucker has stuck around. So, to claim Eugene's lost love and escape a scrape with some firemen that Tucker finds himself in, they head west toward the Playboy Mansion.

Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore (of the TV show The Whitest Kids U Know) are wearing three hats here - directors, writers, and stars - possibly because no one else wanted to be associated with this production. The biggest name in the cast is Hugh Hefner, and this is a sad comedown for him. I know his magazine hasn't been relevant in about a quarter century, but is he so hard-up for publicity that he feels it necessary to lend his support to something this abysmal? I didn't like The House Bunny, but I could understand why he would be involved. Even all the ass-kissing Cregger and Moore do isn't worth the humiliation of being associated with Miss March.

For a movie that's purported to be a sex comedy, there's not much in the way of sex or nudity. And, even though the lead actress is supposedly a centerfold, she keeps her clothes on at all times. There's not even a digitally created image of her naked. Then again, Cregger and Moore could have put a nude woman in every frame and it wouldn't have saved Miss March. The humor is divided into three categories: profanity-related, having to do with bodily fluids, and a tedious, often-repeated line about a hip-hop artist whose name is Horsedick.MPEG. It's as if the screenwriters are eight years old and, having just discovered the word "fuck," they want to use it as much as possible and think its mere utterance is hilarious. For variety, they toss in stuff like an explosion of diarrhea in all of its graphic glory and a Playmate savoring the sweet nectar of dog pee. And those are the tasteful bits.

While Eugene is merely one-dimensional and boring, Tucker is a vile individual. During a scene when a fireman is about to behead Tucker, I was rooting the would-be executioner on. For some unknown reason, the filmmakers expect us to like this misogynist pig, as if we're intended to ignore personality defects like causing his girlfriend to go into an epileptic seizure then stabbing her in the face with a fork. This guy would be perfect for a horror movie. I'd be the first one cheering when Jason or Freddy or Michael drilled a spike through his eye. Sadly, none of these things happen here.

Miss March isn't only inept from a storytelling perspective, it's technically primitive. Camera angles are unsophisticated, recalling Kevin Smith in his early days; shots are poorly framed; transitions are awkward; and the lack of budget frequently calls attention to itself. Most bad films at least look competent, but this is a member of the rare group that looks like the shit that it is. At least it was in focus, although I'm not sure that can be considered a benefit. The experience might have been less traumatic had everything been blurry. My plea to Hollywood: exile Cregger and Moore to the same bleak oblivion where Tom Green, Carrot Top, and Pauley Shore reside.

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