Extreme Movie (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Extreme Movie</strong> (2008)

(On DVD, December 2011) A sketch comedy about teen sex sounds like a dubious prospect for more than one reason: Sketch comedies aren’t that common for good reasons; sex comedy in American cinema is usually an arousal-free mixture of guilt and vulgarity; and American teens aren’t known for discriminating tastes when it comes to that material.  Extreme Movie confirms all three problems and adds a few of its own.  Hobbled by a low-low-low budget (1.2$M) and even lower comic standards, the film is very loosely based on a high-school sex-education class and the issues students confront at home.  While some of the sketches gets a few points for originality and concepts that leave hum-drum reality behind (such as the Weird Science parody, or the Lincoln-obsessed teen who ends up inventing a time machine to fulfill his fetish) and a few other moments have known actors (Michael Cera, Frankie Muniz) gamely submitting themselves to the requirements of the script, much of Extreme Movie is just one lame gag after another, heavily dosed with the kind of embarrassment that seems to be the norm for discussions of teenage sexuality in a comic context.  Heavily biased in favour of a male-centric view of sex (only one sketch revolves around a teenage girl), which is another problem in itself, Extreme Movie does itself no favour by jettisoning most of its accumulated character development every five minutes or so –some of the film’s most amusing jokes are call-backs to previous events.  The telling lack of nudity (at one or two specific exceptions which are probably specific to the “unrated” DVD) hints at a broader problem about the contradictory impulses dictating any discussion of teenage sexuality in North America: the underlying puritanical social impulses are about shame, whereas the broader customer culture is about desire –but does commentary on this film warrant deeper introspection of this issue?  In any case, the “unrated” DVD supplementary material isn’t particularly interesting, although you can almost feel some sympathy for the filmmakers as they describe how to work within a budget that’s a tiny fraction of what most Hollywood productions require.

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