Movie News & Reviews

'Miss March' stays harmless, but that's no fun

If there's one Hollywood cliche that needs to be taken behind thebarn, shot down like an old horse, and ground into cinematic dog food,it's the heartfelt speech some dope makes to win back his girlfriend.

“Hey, absurdly pretty girl who was right to break up with me,” anidiot will declare, “I know I've screwed up all the way through thelast 90 minutes, and I'm sorry about that. Here's a bunch of emotionsI only recently discovered. Let's be happy forever.” This doesn'tmatch up too tight with my observation of real-life examples of thiskind of meeting, which normally go closer to “Hey, ex! I'm drunk. Whydon't you come over and we'll get naked together.”

It's not the disconnect between film and reality that bugs me, it'sthat the big teary speech has become such an everyday convention thatscreenwriters feel no guilt in using it, leaving us to watch the samedamn climax every damn movie. They could have at least gone with aninteresting finale to turn into a cliche. Just imagine. Instead of theplayed-out emotional reconciliation of comedies like MissMarch, all unimaginatively plotted movies could be ending withpeople resolving their disputes by dressing up in panda suits andholding rocket races around the moon.

In Miss March, high school sweethearts Zach Cregger and RaquelAlessi have been abstinent together for over two years, but as promapproaches, Alessi convinces him it's time to seal the deal. Before hecan jump her, Cregger drunkenly falls down a set of stairs, droppinginto a coma.

Four years later, friend Trevor Moore pulls him out of it by beatinghim with a baseball bat. Moore's stayed with him, but Cregger's dadhas gone, and so has Alessi. All it takes is the delivery of Moore'sprecious Playboy to solve that mystery: she's become aPlaymate.

With a party upcoming at the Playboy Mansion, the solution suggestsitself. Hit the road and crash the party so Cregger can confront hisold girlfriend and Moore can meet women who get naked for money.

Prepare yourself for two characters the likes of which have never beenseen: Cregger as the responsible prude and Moore as the sex-crazedcomic relief. It's a wonder how two such opposites could becomefriends, but no doubt they'll get each other into worlds of trouble.

Minds blown yet? Cregger and Moore, who co-wrote and co-directed, thenkick up the creativity another notch with plentiful scat jokes and arunning gag around a rapper's name. Rappers sometimes have sillynames, you see, so if you give one a really silly name and thenbring it up over and over and over--you know what, forget it. This isall going way over your head. Don't expect to have the sophisticationto get all that brainless crudity, either. If I have to explain why ahot chick drinking a dog's urine is funny, that would rob it of itssublime beauty, now wouldn't it?

Oddly, though, despite having all the ingredients for an obnoxious,wrath-worthy garbage heap, Miss March is pretty much harmless.It does hit a handful of laughs. The rest of its gags aren't activelyawful, just lacking. It gives the sense it could have been funny ifonly the execution were a little more inspired, the writing a littlesharper. In another dimension not so far from our own, parallelus-guys are laughing their asses off.

Episodic by nature, road movies aren't helped when the humor'sirregular, too. It's also crippling to contrive a semi-love storyaround a plot where the female "lead" is given infinitely less screentime than the Playboy enterprise, as if the whole thing mightbe a feature-length commercial for the sinking ship of magazine-basedsoftcore pornography.

Then comes the emotional speechifying, layered with just enough ironyto pretend it's making fun rather than rolling out the same tiredjunk. It's not offensively bad, just instantly forgettable.

Grade: C