Sex Drive
Huh … either I’m on acid or that’s a sprinkled donut costume … I’m on acid, right?

Theatrical Release Date: 10/17/2008
Director: Sean Anders
Cast: Josh Zuckerman, Amanda Crew, Clark Duke, James Marsden, Seth Green, Alice Greczyn, Katrina Bowden

If you wondered what it would be like to mash up “Road Trip”, “Kingpin” and “Eurotrip”, then you’re in luck because “Sex Drive” is hittin’ the theaters. Also, you might want to think about cutting down on the caffeine.

“Sex Drive” is another in a long line of raunchy, teen comedies and if you think you’re seen it all before … well, you have. Just like so many others, this one involves a guy and a girl who grew up together and are best friends; of course, they both want more than that but they’re afraid to ruin the friendship. While on a road trip together, the crazy antics and situations that surround them force them to make a choice and the I doubt it takes much more than a single digit I.Q. to know that by the end, love conquers all.

So why in the hell would anyone see this? Aside from those too young to have waded through dozens of these genre films and unable to enter certain “establishments” of varying ill repute – the short answer is James Marsden.

I know what you’re thinking … Ian, you’ve lost your freakin’ mind. And while I wouldn’t necessarily discount that theory, there is a method to my madness. Most people know Marsden as Cyclops from the “X-Men” franchise; maybe you remember him as Lois Lane’s husband in “Superman Returns; or perhaps you’re one of the “lucky” few to have experienced “Disturbing Behavior”. No matter where you know him from, one of the things he doesn’t get a chance to do that often is comedy (“27 Dresses” is pain, not comedy … he was good in Enchanted though).

With “Sex Drive”, Marsden plays the overly-masculine older brother. He enjoys motorcycles, harassing his younger brother about becoming gay and his souped-up ride. Actually, he loves his car so much that when little brother steals it for the road trip, he turns into a detective and hunts him down.

Even with the mildly funny Seth Green cameo (his deadpan sarcasm is excellent), it’s Marsden that keeps the film from being practically useless in the grand scheme of things. He had me laughing from the start and it only got funnier as his character develops over the course of the film.

Everyone else, however, is somewhere between annoying and decent. As mentioned, there isn’t anything here you haven’t seen before and I was actually fairly fed up with the big subplot concerning Rumspringa (a period of time when young adults can do whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want – before committing to a life of following Amish practices). I understand that it’s funny to see otherwise “square” people yelling obscenities, having sex and drinking booze. But unless you’re actually going to make an entire film about that (and I’m not asking for it), the joke gets old real quick.

There are vaguely amusing cameos by David Koechner and Brian Posehn, which help to break up the generally bland main story. This is especially helpful because perhaps my biggest problem with the film is the third wheel, Clark Duke, who plays the best friend of the main character.

Duke is a likable enough actor but the character is about as believable as Ben Affleck surviving his plane crash in “Pearl Harbor”. While I can suspend my disbelief on a great many things, watching multiple attractive women become sexually attracted to Duke’s character just doesn’t work. In the real world, unless he was amazingly rich, most girls would keep someone who looked like he does in the film in the friend zone. Yes, I will grant that confidence goes a long way … but not that far. While Duke plays his role well, at some point looks play a part and it kept me from fully investing in the main story.

If all you want is another raunchy, sex comedy then by all means, go out and see “Sex Drive”. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5 thanks largely to my amusement involving Marsden’s character and may even give this another viewing once it hits cable or DVD. However, I already own “Road Trip”, “Kingpin” and “Eurotrip”, so should I forget this film ever existed, I won’t lose much sleep.