Blu-ray Review: 'The Last American Virgin'

Unlike the majority of previous films to have resurfaced via the esteemed Arrow Video label, the years haven't been particularly kind to 1982's The Last American Virgin - a grandiose title which suggests some kind of a smutty coming-of-age epic, but in reality only manages to deliver the grubby goods sporadically. Brought to the screen by infamous eighties producers Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan, the film is almost a virtual shot-for-shot remake of Lemon Popsicle, their bawdy paean to sixties American youth culture which was shot in their home city of Tel Aviv (and effectively launched the duo's careers).

Transplanting the tale of three shamefully horny teens to actual American soil - and set a couple of decades later than the original - Popsicle's director Boaz Davidson was also lured back on board. With a budget which looks to have been mostly swallowed up by the purchasing of major jukebox hits of that era (many of which are played repeatedly, presumably in an attempt by the filmmakers to get their money's worth), the narrative follows nice guy Gary (Lawrence Monoson), rotund comic relief David (Joe Rubbo) and smooth ladies' man Rick (Steve Antin) as they attempt to bag as many sex conquests as possible. So far, so sleazy until a pretty female student drives a wedge between the besotted Gary and the predatory Rick.

Although the film's producers and director haven't skimped on the 't' and 'a' quota (an element which undoubtedly lead to its popularity back in the early eighties), The Last American Virgin lacks the scuzzy charm of similar teen sex comedies from that time, such as the Porky's cycle. This is due mainly to a trio of unmemorable characters, with performers who deliver equally lacklustre turns which only manage to tickle the funny bone intermittently. It doesn't help that some of the scenes featuring female nudity veer uncomfortable into misogynist territory on a couple of occasions.

What were obviously intended as innocent, throwaway moments of titillation back then are more than a little objectionable in a modern context. Arguably, those retrograde characteristic are often the reason why exploitation pictures like this present an interest and intrigue when viewed from a contemporary gaze. While the sometimes amateurish and clunky nature of the production further adds to that schlocky appeal, there isn't enough going on elsewhere in the film for The Last American Virgin to transcend that one-off viewing curiosity to genuine under-appreciated genre entry.

Adam Lowes


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