Well, folks. For this review, it’s time to take a little trip to the magical world of the 80’s. And as you know, the 80’s were the best time for movies, TV shows and especially music. 80’s FTW! The movie I’m reviewing today came out at a time when the teen sex comedy genre was booming thanks to the success of the 1981 film Porky’s, which I do vaguely remember seeing as a kid and came out the same year as the iconic teen sex comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I have the DVD of Fast Times but I haven’t watched it yet. In fact, the only time I’ve seen Fast Times was on TV and it was edited. And you pretty much know how people feel about R-rated movies that are edited down for television. In fact, I have a story about that but that’s for another episode.
Getting back on track here, even though this film came out a mere two weeks before Fast Times in the summer of 1982, it is the latter film that is most remembered while this film sort of disappeared into obscurity because of the fact that this movie offered a very controversial and very realistic ending compared to the usual stereotypical Hollywood ending where the nice guy is the hero and he gets the girl at the end. If you came to this review looking for that type of movie then you came to the wrong place because this movie starts out as a stereotypical teen sex comedy and halfway through it throws you a curve and gets really serious (with an abortion subplot not that Fast Times didn’t have one) and then there’s that ending but it’s not a happy ending. So without further ado, here is my review of the classic 1982 film The Last American Virgin.
The Last American Virgin is the Americanized version of a 1978 Israeli film called Lemon Popsicle and it is about a trio of friends, one of whom is a male virgin who embark on a series of misadventures while trying to get laid. That while Lemon Popsicle and the seven sequels that followed it were set in the 50’s, the Americanized version was set in L.A. in more contemporary times, meaning the early 80’s. And another thing that The Last American Virgin shares with its Israeli predecessor is that both films have the same production team: Golan and Globus as producers (meaning that the schlock factory known as the Cannon Group was behind this movie) and it also has the same director, Boaz Davidson. And since male virginity is a pretty serious issue these days with this crazy screwed-up dating culture we are in right now, now is probably as good a time as any to dust off this classic movie and give it a review. So without further ado, here we go.
The movie opens sort of like A Christmas Story (even though this came out a little over a year before Christmas Story) where just like in that movie, the protagonist sees the object of his desire. However instead of a BB gun, our protagonist Gary (played by Lawrence Monoson), pines for a really hot transfer student named Karen (played by Diane Franklin, best known as one of the princesses from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.) And just like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, Gary is standing there with his mouth hanging open to the point where he is practically drooling whereas the girl just gives him the once-over and walks away. Then he goes and order the same exact ice cream that the girl does and immediately he sets about trying to find out who she is so he can get with her. Uh, creepy?
Here’s a little tidbit about Gary. He’s not the stereotypical geek like in most romantic comedies where the nice guy gets the girl at the end, nor is he bad looking. He dresses like a typical 80’s kid, collar flipped up, hair in a pompadour (though I don’t know why the boys in this movie all have pompadours in a teen sex comedy that is set in the early 80’s even though it is an Americanized version of a movie that is set in the 50’s), and a sharp dresser. He has a job as a pizza delivery boy at a pizza place called Pink Pizza and he is frequently seen driving around in a pink station wagon which is the company car. Uh… gay?
He is frequently seen palling around with ladies’ man Rick (played by Steve Antin) and David (played by Joe Rubbo), the token fat guy who unlike Gary has considerable success with women. Unlike his peers, Gary is still a virgin who despite his many trips to get laid, he usually goes home without getting any. In fact, the whole first half of the movie consists of the boys’ never-ending quest for tail.
The movie really begins with the boys picking up three girls (one extremely hot chick, one moderately attractive chick, and a fat chick.) They invite the girls over to Gary’s house where they promise them drugs and sex. They have the girls snorting Sweet ‘N Low because they’re trying to pass it off as cocaine and then the sexcapades begin. Since he’s the token douchebag in the movie, Rick gets the really hot chick, fat boy David gets the moderately attractive chick who is sort of reluctant to put out and makes David wait outside while she is getting naked. And guess who ends up with the fat chick? That’s right, our hero Gary and of course he was having difficulty getting her in the mood because clearly she’s more interested in eating rather than getting laid. At one point he even tries to take off her bra using a pair of scissors. But their party is interrupted when Gary's parents return home and pandemonium ensues, nearly forcing Gary’s mom to have a nervous breakdown especially when David mistakes her for his girl. That scene was hilarious.
While Gary attempts to find out about Karen, he even gives her a lift to school after intentionally deflating the tires on her bicycle (creepy) where he learns that she doesn’t have a boyfriend which would seem to indicate that she was a virgin. However he blows his chance with her yet again (friend-zoned) and soon he is shocked to find out that her woman senses were tingling for bad boy Rick the Dick, hence our love triangle which at least is not as bloated and overhyped as the Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle in that franchise that will not be named.
And to make matters worse, the new couple tries to set Gary up with her geeky best friend Rose who is kind of weird with glasses and pigtails (after all, it was the 80’s) and Rose is immediately smitten with Gary but Gary is obviously oblivious to her. He wants the hot girl after all. Geeky attire aside, Rose is not that bad-looking. All she needed to do was lose the pigtails and Gary would probably forget about Karen. Of course that can’t really happen otherwise we wouldn’t have a movie.
The next sexual misadventure comes when Gary delivers pizza to a sexy Latina cougar whose sailor boyfriend is always out of town and she tells him she wants to hook up with him. And of course being too wimpy to follow up on it, he runs back and gets his friends. Are you really that much of a loser? If an obviously hot woman says she wants to bang you, you don’t run off and get your friends. You bang her!
So anyway, sissy boy Gary brings Rick and David back with him and pretend that they were on a pizza delivery run and decided to bring extra pizzas so that they had an excuse to go to her house. Then she proceeds to do a striptease dance for the boys which makes them as Beavis would say go Boooooiiiiiiinnnnng! And as usual Rick the Dick gets to bang her first and then David goes next. And as far as that goes, well let’s just say that I’ll never look at the KC and the Sunshine Band song “That’s the Way I Like It" without seeing the image of naked David on top of a hot woman. But guess who decides to show up just as Gary is getting ready to get it in? That’s right it’s the missing sailor boyfriend who promptly chases them off.
And what’s the moral of the story, kids? Next time a cougar wants to sleep with you, don’t bring your friends!
And it is about this point where Rick begins to plan to take Karen’s virginity so he goes to Gary and tries to ask him for the keys to his grandmother’s house where he plans to get her alone. Gary responds by saying that he couldn’t find it and instead forces Rick to break his date with Karen and accompany him and David to a prostitute named Ruby, who obviously looks like she is past her sell-by date. This time, Gary goes first, but because of nerves, it’s unknown whether or not he finished or if he actually got inside her or not but apparently it does not go well. And sure enough the next day, all three boys end up going to school with itchy balls. Heh-heh. Got crabs?
And by the way, the scene where the boys go to a pharmacist and have to explain what is wrong with them is actually hilarious. And what would have made it even more hilarious was that the pharmacist was originally supposed to be a woman.
However the boys get over the crabs long enough for Rick to finally take Karen out to the football field (to Gary’s horror) to finally get her laid. Gary tries to stop them but he could not find him and it is the first time that we hear the Commodores’ single “Oh, No” in the movie (we’ll hear it again at various points during the latter half of the movie along with the movie’s theme song, “Just Once” by Quincy Jones with James Ingram.) Then after Rick and Karen finally do it, they go back to the local hangout where Gary is all alone, obviously depressed and Rick rubs some salt in Gary’s wound by bragging about hooking up with Karen and Gary leaves in a huff.
A few days later, Gary observes an argument between Rick and Karen in the library where he tells her to get lost and here’s where Gary sees his big chance to get with Karen. Now, there is a term for that type of behavior that I can’t think of it right off the top of my head right now…
Anyway, Gary learns that Rick got her pregnant and now wants nothing to do with her and since he obviously still has feelings for her decides to help Karen pay for an abortion. At the same time, he confronts Rick in the library where the two pretty much comes to blows and it’s curtains for their friendship.
Later on, while everyone goes away on a ski trip during winter break, Gary moves Karen into his grandmother’s house. He takes her to an abortion clinic while he runs off to pawn off his stereo and borrow money from his boss to pay for the abortion. After the abortion, Gary takes her back to his grandmother’s house where he behaves like a perfect gentleman even though I have to admit that his watching over her while she sleeps is kinda creepy.
And then the moment of truth arrives when Gary finally reveals his true feelings for Karen and she finally does kiss him as though she seems to be returning his feelings and then invites him to her 18th birthday party the following week. Next thing you know Gary is able to scrape up eighty bucks (thank god Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen was nowhere in sight and if you’ve seen Back to the Future Part III, you’ll get the joke), Gary goes to a jewelry store and buys Karen a gold locket with an inscription on it that says “To Karen, with love.”
And sure enough, the day of the party arrives and Gary arrives in the pink station wagon with Karen’s present, happy as can be because he’s finally gonna get the girl. And just when you think that this movie will end up with the traditional romantic movie happy ending that the nice guy is finally gonna get the girl and live happily ever after, he opens the door to the kitchen and sees his beloved Karen… making out with Rick the Dick! All I gotta say to that is... WHAT THE FUCK, MOVIE?!
If this isn’t the biggest bag-over-the-head blow to your balls! To think that after all that Rick did to her and after all that Gary has done for her, she still decides to take the douchebag back! Sound familiar? Sounds like today’s dating scene to me! And she has the nerve to smirk at him! (Bitch.)
And with that move, we see Karen's status elevate from the object of Gary’s desire to the damsel in distress to finally the movie’s real villain. Just like real life!
And so Gary leaves the party, taking Karen’s gift with him and the credits roll as he drives home crying. Now the way I see it, I came up with a couple of possible scenarios as to how this movie might actually end. First up, after he is done crying, Gary could go back to the party and beat the shit out of Rick and hope that convinces Karen that he is a real man and not a pushover. Second scenario: Gary goes back to the party and settles for Rose. I mean she’s not that bad looking for a total geek. Just lose the pigtails and switch to contacts and she’ll be good to go. Third scenario: He’ll go his own way, go to college and hopes he runs into another girl named Karen who will actually date him. That is, if he doesn’t return the locket and get a refund.
Hey, chin up, Gary. At least you can take comfort knowing that you’ll be killed by Jason Voorhees two years later in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. And no, you don’t get any there either.
The performances are actually pretty good in this movie. It is pretty well written for a movie that starts of as a generic teen sex comedy and then throws you a curve halfway through to make the film into an Afterschool special with the abortion subplot and of course that ending. And the music is wall-to-wall 80’s music. In short, this is American Graffiti rewritten as an 80’s teen sex comedy. It contains some of the most recognizable 80’s tunes, such as the Cars’ “Shake it Up;” Devo’s “Whip It,” which plays during the dick-measuring contest (I’m serious, there is one early in the movie in which the token nerd who’s not even a main character in the movie wins); REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You;” and Journey’s “Open Arms” to name a few.
I have to admit that Golan and Globus had guts to put out a movie with a very realistic ending that a lot of guys (especially in today’s screwed-up dating society) can relate to and for that they should be commended. On the other hand, if they think this lets them off the hook for Superman IV, they are sorely mistaken.
And there has been some talk about remaking this movie as far back as 2011 where Brett Ratner said that he wanted to direct a remake of this movie and I will post a link to that article in the description box below but I wouldn’t trust this movie to a director who’s only had two good movies his whole career: The first Rush Hour movie and Red Dragon. If anyone was to do a remake, give it to Judd Apatow. After all, he’s no stranger to movies about male virgins.
So in short, The Last American Virgin is a pretty good movie that clearly has to be seen especially since people can relate to this film primarily because it describes today’s dating culture. In fact, I think this movie predicted today’s dating culture. If you like 80’s nostalgia or if you do want to see a movie that does not have the stereotypical Hollywood ending, then this movie is for you. If you can find it on DVD or on Netflix, you’ve got to see it. It is clearly not to be missed.Link to Brett Ratner on remaking Last American Virgin: http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/brett-ratner-says-hes-remaking-the-last-american-virgin