‘The Last American Virgin’: Teenage Life Personified
Very seldom does an exquisite teen comedy come along. In 1982, however, “The Last American Virgin” came along and to this day is still the best teen sex comedy ever made. The film has a gigantic heart at its core that separates it from all others in the genre. It is almost like someone was tired of seeing the way films such as “Porky’s” depicted teen life, in a whimsical and carefree fashion and decided to make something with some real emotional value.
The movie follows Gary in his attempt to get laid. Lawrence Monoson, (“Mask”) reminds us of all of the pain of the teenage years, when emotions are running all over the place and love is confused with lust. It is on the back of his strong performance that “The Last American Virgin” is so endearing.
A strong supporting performance is provided by Steve Antin, (“The Accused”) as Rick. He has no trouble finding women and enjoys the conquest. This is the guy you wish you were in high school and the guy you love to hate at the same time. Very hard to pull off that duality, but Antin does it well.
The film also has a duality of sorts. The structure of the plot is divided by drama and comedy. The first half of the film is your standard teen exploitation film, with one sleazy adventure to the next and nothing to separate it from the pack of teen comedies that flooded the video market at the time. However, it does make for light, breezy fun, even if you feel that you know where this film is going.
But, you’d be totally wrong.
There is only one thing that can turn a comedic look into teenage life into a dramatic one and that is when we try to understand the opposite sex. Gary soon develops feelings for the new girl in school, Karen (Diane Franklin, “Better Off Dead”), but he needs to make his move before Rick does.
Some of the early scenes seem dated and out of place in this wonderful little film, but they’re not enough of a reason to dismiss this film.
The movie also has one of the best soundtracks ever, with music from REO Speedwagon, The Cars, U2, The Police, Quincy Jones, Journey and The Commodores. Each scene and each song relates to how Gary’s emotions are throughout the film, making it more than just melodic background filler.
“The Last American Virgin” is an underrated gem of the early ’80s. This movie is an amazing experience that is brutally honest in its depiction of those years right before adulthood and it will leave you loving this daring film.
It’s OK guys, to cry at the end.
We have all been there.