Film Review: ‘Premature’

The logline may smack of 'Groundhog Day,' but this coarse comedy has more in common with teen-sex comedies of the '80s.

John Karna, Katie Findlay, Craig Roberts, Carlson Young, Adam Riegler, Elon Gold, Steve Coulter, Kate Kneeland, Alan Tudyk.

The logline smacks of “Groundhog Day” — a virginal high-school senior repeatedly relives the same day until he achieves enlightenment, if not defloration — but “Premature” winds up resembling nothing so much as the coarsely smutty teen-sex comedies that abounded throughout the ’80s in the wake of “Porky’s.” A final-reel lurch into romantic sweetness suggests the original “American Pie” also was an inspiration for helmer Dan Beers and co-scripter Matthew Harawitz, but that fails to make their half-baked recycling of leftover elements any more palatable. Only undiscriminating audiences with a pronounced taste for crotch-centric tomfoolery will sample this goulash during its simultaneous theatrical and VOD exposure.

John Karna appears to tap into his inner Michael Cera as Rob, the nebbishy protagonist who’s inexplicably cursed to repeat an eventful day that begins, embarrassingly, with his mother walking into his bedroom and spotting the aftermath of his copiously wet dream. Each time he ejaculates — usually, but not always, just before he can enjoy sexual congress with a blonde hottie (Carlson Young) who’s impolitely but accurately described as “the school slut” — he is magically transported backward in time to start the morning, in bed, all over again. (Insert joke about coming and going here.)

It takes Rob a while to figure out that each new iteration of the day allows him another chance to make better choices, avoid humiliating situations, and maybe act cooler during a college interview with a melancholy Georgetown U. representative (Alan Tudyk, whose oddly sympathetic performance is the movie’s chief asset). And it’s not until the final minutes of “Premature” that Rob finally learns the lesson taught to almost every male lead in ’80s teen-sex comedies: A blonde bombshell may promise temporary titillation, but a brunette buddy (in this case, a clever classmate attractively played by Katie Findlay) guarantees happily ever after.

As Rob maneuvers through his orgasm-triggered time-tripping, he spends rather too much time swapping vulgarities with his oversexed best friend (Craig Roberts), and proves remarkably slow when it comes to learning from his mistakes. Worse, the opportunity for repeated do-overs occasionally brings out the worst in him.

At one point, he grabs the bountiful bosoms of an attractive teacher to satisfy his curiosity about the authenticity of her assets. At another point, he gleefully punches out a female classmate to settle an old score. When she responds by brutalizing his gonads with swift kicks, it’s hard to feel sorry for him — and not just because one of those kicks inadvertently leads to a convenient ejaculation.

“Premature” boasts perfectly respectable production values. Trouble is, that doesn’t really help a lowbrow romp that, at yet another point, tries to do for mayonnaise what “American Pie” did for baked goods.

Film Review: 'Premature'

Reviewed online, Houston, July 2, 2014. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 93 MIN.

Production: An IFC Midnight release of a FilmNation Entertainment presentation in association with AI Film of a FilmNation production. Produced by Aaron Ryder, Karen Lunder. Executive producers, Aviv Giladi, Len Blavatnik, Glen Basner, Vince Holden. Co-producer, Robin Sweet.

Crew: Directed by Dan Beers. Screenplay, Beers, Matthew Harawitz. Camera (color), Jimmy Lindsey; editor, Robert Nassau; music, Nick Urata; music supervisors, Buck Damon, Steven Lindsey; production designer, John Paino; art director, Nicole LeBlanc; costume designer, Amela Baksic; sound (Dolby Digital), Drew Ponder; assistant director, Karen Kane; casting, Anne McCarthy, Kellie Gessell.

With: John Karna, Katie Findlay, Craig Roberts, Carlson Young, Adam Riegler, Elon Gold, Steve Coulter, Kate Kneeland, Alan Tudyk.

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