'Miss March'

Pic falls back on tired body-fluid gaggery and hoary sexist nonsense.

The old J. Geils Band song “Centerfold” — about a guy’s onetime dream girl showing up in Playboy — must have inspired the excremental comedy “Miss March,” because not much else did. The latest entry in the seemingly never-ending men-are-morons movie marathon, the writing-directing debut of stars Trevor Moore and Zach Cregger actually shows flashes of promise and moments of anarchic hilarity but falls back on tired body-fluid gaggery, hoary sexist nonsense and a few things disgusting enough to make auds bite down on their armrests. Pic should perform, but how many theater owners can afford to reupholster four times a day?

Moore and Cregger, masterminds of a TV sketch show called “The Whitest Kids U Know,” play Tucker Cleigh and Eugene Bell — who, in keeping with a long comedy tradition, have been friends since childhood despite having nothing in common. By high school, Tucker has become the ultimate party animal/rutting sex hound. Eugene, conversely, is saving himself for marriage with Cindi (Raquel Alessi), with whom he gives abstinence lectures to grade-school kids that involve tales of sex, cigarettes, pregnancy, syphilis and retardation.

It’s not as funny as it sounds. What’s vaguely amusing is Cindi’s insistence that they cut to the chase and have sex after prom. A reluctant Eugene agrees, but en route to their rendezvous, he gets drunk, falls down the cellar stairs and goes into a coma for four years.

When Eugene wakes up, so does “Miss March.” Tucker — having brought Eugene out of his coma with a baseball bat — discovers Cindi has become a Playmate of the Month. Having perforated the face of his girlfriend Candace (Molly Stanton) with a fork during an episode of violent sex — thus enraging her fireman brother Rick (Geoff Meed) — Tucker kidnaps his heartbroken pal from the hospital and takes to the road (now there’s a novel idea) so he can escape and Eugene can confront Cindi at the original Playboy Mansion in Chicago.

To penetrate the stately pleasure dome of Hugh Hefner (who makes a cameo appearance late in the game), Tucker and Eugene seek out their old classmate Phil (a hilarious Craig Robinson), now a world-renowned rap star who goes by an unsubtle moniker.

The boys’ reunion (and falling out) with Phil is funny, but not nearly as funny as their pursuit by angry firemen, who surround the boys’ station wagon with fire trucks in a brilliantly nightmarish/comic sequence that’s half Brueghel and half Coen brothers. But these are the highlights: “Miss March” is overall a raggedy, unfocused affair that wastes both directors’ acting talent and feels like too much work between the laughs.

Production values are adequate visually, and the editing choices of Tim Mirkovich make the movie more amusing than it might have been.

Miss March

Production

A Fox Searchlight Pictures release of a Fox Atomic presentation of a Jacobson Co./Alta Loma Entertainment production. Produced by Tom Jacobson, Steven J. Wolfe, Tobie Haggerty, Vincent Cirrincione. Executive producers, Richard Rosenzweig, Jason Burns. Co-producers, Monnie Wills, Scott G. Hyman. Directed, written by Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore; story, Dennis Haggerty, Ryan Homchick, Thomas Mimms.

Crew

Camera (Deluxe color), Anthony B. Richmond; editor, Tim Mirkovich; music, Jeff Cardoni; songs, Ali Dee; music supervisors, Dave Jordan, Jojo Villanueva; production designer, Cabot McMullen; art director, Dins Danielsen; set decorator, Beth Wooke; costume designers, Sarah De Sa Rego, Alexis Scott; sound (Dolby/SDDS/DTS), Matthew Nicolay; supervising sound editor, Patrick M. Griffith; visual effects supervisor, Stephen Dyson; visual effects, Monkeyweed Pros; special effects coordinator, Bob Garrigus; stunt coordinator, Mike Owen; assistant director, Joel Jeffrey Nishimine; casting, Sheila Jaffe. Reviewed at Lincoln Square Cinemas, New York, March 11, 2009. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Eugene Bell - Zach Cregger Tucker Cleigh - Trevor Moore Phil - Craig Robinson Cindi Whitehall - Raquel Alessi Candace - Molly Stanton Doctor - Cedric Yarbrough Hugh Hefner - Himself Nurse Juanita - Carla Jimenez Fireman Rick - Geoff Meed
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