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Porn ‘n Chicken

Sweeter and more relevant than its fratboy title suggests, Comedy Central's "Porn 'n Chicken" is a likable fusion of, of all things, "Animal House," "Dead Poets Society" and "Deep Throat."

With:
Hutch - Ebon Moss-Bachrach Polly - Angela Goethals Quentin - Alex Burns Andy - Geoffrey Arend Lenny - Michael Goldstrom Maya - Ginnifer Goodwin Dean Widehead - Kurt Fuller Professor Hoffman - Josh Pais Roger Stone - Joseph Siravo

Sweeter and more relevant than its fratboy title suggests, Comedy Central’s “Porn ‘n Chicken” is a likable fusion of, of all things, “Animal House,” “Dead Poets Society” and “Deep Throat.” A pleasant cast of unknowns leads this student rebellion, a true story stoked with funny dialogue, mucho male chauvinism and a rather distinctive premise … to say the least. Cabler’s first original pic is targeted to the right demo — who else but young men will be attracted to breasts and drumsticks? — and its enthusiasm is a complete surprise.

With a name like this, it’s no wonder that the network, in need of a ratings boost, has marketed the heck out of “Porn’s” seedy potential. Indeed, the promos make this look like a raunchfest with nothing to offer but bongs and thongs. It has those — plenty, in fact — but there’s also a light touch, a charming disposition and an unplugged feel that add value to the real-life exploits of an Ivy League club that tested the limits of authority by supposedly making a skin flick, “The Staxxx,” in 1996.

Tyro Ebon Moss-Bachrach is Josh “Hutch” Hutchinson, a high-strung Yale undergrad whose only goal is to get into a prestigious law school. Best buddies Quentin (Alex Burns) and Andy (Geoffrey Arend) loosen him up one day by introducing him to the joys of fried chicken, a six-pack and “Debbie Does Dallas” — a seemingly harmless experience that evolves into something more entrepreneurial.

After liking the evening a little too much — and to impress attractive hippie chick Polly (Angela Goethals) — the chaps establish a secret society that starts as strictly a guy’s haven but eventually gets a rep as a place to go, for everyone, that challenges both university regs and repression.

As the guild grows, its founders decide the only way to cement its legend is to make a film of their own. Armed with no money and no production background but more willing participants than they ever imagined and interest from, among other outlets, the New York Times, group gets going on the cheapest of cheap-o movies.

Hailing from Robert De Niro’s Tribeca shingle, “Porn” is nothing like what Comedy Central is pushing. Smart and savvy, it ultimately puts prurient issues aside and deals with the political uprising that anti-establishment ideas usually ignite. The sexual revolution isn’t just about sit-ins and the ’70s — if a high-priced university is going to teach human reproduction, then what’s wrong with a few naked people doing it on campus?

Not quite believing in what he has on merit alone, however, director-writer Lawrence Trilling has injected a few too many moments of drunk scholars who eat cereal with giant spoons and other “collegiate” scenes. There are silly subplots (Hutch’s mentor sleeps with pretty coeds and is denied tenure; Andy comes out of the closet), and a love triangle between Hutch, Quentin and Polly never really kicks in.

But fueled by a lively perf by Moss-Bachrach, project has all of the merry mischief that so many similar pics, from “P.C.U” to “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” couldn’t grasp. Burns is pleasingly obnoxious, Arend is great as the sly friend with a knack for voices and Goethals is a find as the principled woman behind the men.

“Porn” was lensed at Columbia U.

Porn 'n Chicken

Comedy Central, Sun. Oct. 13, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in New York City by Comedy Central and Tribeca Prods. Executive producer, Jane Rosenthal; co-executive producers, Naomi Despres, Hardy Justice; producer, Natascha Tillmanns; director, Lawrence Trilling; writer, Trilling, based on a story by Trilling and A.D. Miles.

Crew: Camera, Patrick Cady; production designer, Mark Ricker; editor, Dawn Hollier; music, Peter Himmelman; casting, Susie Faris. 120 MIN.

Cast: Hutch - Ebon Moss-Bachrach Polly - Angela Goethals Quentin - Alex Burns Andy - Geoffrey Arend Lenny - Michael Goldstrom Maya - Ginnifer Goodwin Dean Widehead - Kurt Fuller Professor Hoffman - Josh Pais Roger Stone - Joseph Siravo

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