Monday 5 April 2010

Movie Review: Wild Cherry (2009)

If there are any original ideas that can still be squeezed out of the high school sex comedy genre, they are likely to be found by independent films or not at all.

Wild Cherry, an independent coming-of-age production filmed, of all places, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, certainly has a go. Director Dana Lustig, working from a script by Chris Charney, pushes boundaries and finds scenes and lines of dialogue that register well on the originality scale.

In the final year of high school, the football team players use their legendary "Bang Book" to record sexual conquests, and assign themselves campus virgins to have sex with before the season is over. Helen (Tania Raymonde) is a virgin but serious about the team's kicker Stanford (Ryan Merriman). Helen's friends Chase (Rumer Willis) and Trish (Kristin Cavallari) are also virgins, and soon find themselves inexplicably courted by football players before they discover the secret of the Bang Book.

Taking a leaf from the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, Helen, Chase and Trish decide to withhold sexual favours until after the football season is over, to teach the boys a lesson.

In framing the sexual mis-adventures within a context that allows for an examination of what sex among teenagers is about, Wild Cherry is already a few yards ahead of the typical fare. And if you want to look for it, the film also allows a discussion about the differences between boys and girls when it comes to early frolicking.

But Wild Cherry does not shy away from the raunchiness and humour, and manages to deliver some gems. In one sequence, Helen goes on a serious search for her first self-administered orgasm, using whatever she can find around the house. This is followed by no small amount of panic involving a salad that her Dad (Rob Schneider) is preparing.

Other good moments involve an over-use of erection pills; and football players trapped naked and blindfolded at the school swimming pool, then confronted by their coach outraged about them playing "hide the pickle". And Wild Cherry certainly pushes all boundaries related to new, widespread, and never-naturally-intended uses of semen.

Wild Cherry is helped along by engaging performances. The leading actresses do well, with Raymonde (from TV's Lost) and Willis (the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis) demonstrating enough talent to move forward from this genre onto more serious roles. Heading in the other career direction, Tia Carrere has a small but memorable role, introducing the girls to a new form of "power".

It's no classic, but within the limitations of the genre, Wild Cherry is a good pick.

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