The Last American Virgin (1982)

Hot dates.

Hot dates.

I’m no 80’s-teen-sex-comedy connoisseur, but we all have aspirations, right? So as The Last American Virgin came highly recommended, albeit with the caveat that it’s not exactly what one would expect, I rented it immediately.

And, well, I must say, my pal was correct, it isn’t exactly what I expected. More accurately, I suppose the first half is just about exactly what I expected, but the dark turn of the film’s second half left a pretty nasty taste in my mouth, as I suppose it was meant to. And just a warning, if you’re the type who doesn’t want the plots of your 80’s-teen-sex-comedies spoiled, don’t read on.

Hot car.

Hot car.

Virgin starts off pretty typically: there’s Gary, who is your normal pizza-delivery teen, hungry for sex but scared of it all the same. His two best friends in the world are an asshole named Rick (aptly played by Steve Antin, or as you probably know him Troy from The Goonies) and the token fat kid, David. The boys have sex (or near-sex) adventures together from strange girls snorting Sweet’N Low to horny foreign ladies to prostitutes with crabs.

The fun stops short when Rick starts boning the cutie next door, Karen. See, Gary has it bad for Karen, but the poor guy just doesn’t have what it takes to get young ladies in bed, I guess. It’s made all the worse by Rick’s nonchalance regarding her: how can he be so casual about such a wonderful girl? When Karen gets pregnant, Rick leaves her out in the cold,

Hot undies.

Hot undies.

uninterested in dealing with the problem he helped cause. Here’s where our hero Gary swoops in, knight in shining armor and all that, takes Karen to “take care of” the problem and nurses her through her psychological distress.

Gary thinks he’s got it on lockdown now, but the terrible lesson he hasn’t learned yet is that nice guys finish last. Always. Can you imagine the sting Gary feels as he watches Karen go right back into Rick’s arms after all he’s done for her?

My immediate reaction to the ending of the movie is: why? I couldn’t understand why any woman in any circumstance would ever speak to such a diaper-wiper like Rick ever again. A conversation with my husband illuminated the male mind a little bit for me; of course the girl goes back to the jerk, she’s only

Cute, but d-u-m-b.

Cute, but d-u-m-b.

interested in sex, anyway. The uncontrollable libido of the teenager is to blame for everyone’s poor decisions here: Rick only wants sex, so of course he’s not interested in the difficulties a real relationship would offer. Gary only wants sex, but doesn’t know how to go about getting it – even worse, is actually afraid of it, so goes about it by pursuing a damaged and hurt girl who is in pain and perhaps maybe emotionally fragile enough to be taken advantage of. And Karen, well, she only wants sex, so she’s not interested in having the nice guy who couldn’t really make a move in her life in any capacity except, perhaps, to clean up her messes for her.

What's so bad about Rose, anyway?

What’s so bad about Rose, anyway?

If that is indeed the male perspective, than this is most certainly a movie for men. I didn’t find any of the female characters relatable in any way at all, except for perhaps Karen’s best friend Rose (Kimmy Robertson) who crushes hard on Gary and just wants the guy to rub lotion on her back, but her character is peripheral and inconsequential. It’s impossible for me not to compare this movie to Fast Times at Ridgemont High; they’re both made in 1982, they’re both comedies about the difficulties of teen sex, and they both involve pretty intense abortion scenes. The biggest difference between the two are the motivations of the characters, male and female – but perhaps I’m just more sensitive to the female characters in question. The main female character from Fast Times, Stacy, makes the same stupid mistakes that Karen does, but in the

One thing all teen movies seem to have in common: taking advantage of the nerd.

One thing all teen movies seem to have in common: taking advantage of the nerd.

end, she learns from her mistake and ends up with the nice guy – she isn’t purely driven by sex, and I can relate to that!

Maybe I just didn’t have a normal teenage-hood. Is that what it is? Or is there really more to kids than uncontrollable sex drives? I guess there’s something to be said for a coming-of-age flick ending with a huge, giant slap in the face about how crappy adulthood is probably going to be, so on the one hand, I liked that about Virgin. On the other hand, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t see the use in having a young girl written to be so stupid.

All of this makes it sound like I didn’t like the movie. That’s not true, I did like the movie. It made me laugh and it made me upset, and in the end I appreciate it when movies evoke varied emotions in me. I’m just not sure I like what the movie had to say.


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