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Pretty Bad: 14.29%
Total Crap85.71%

1 review, 1 rating

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National Lampoon's Adam & Eve
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by Ryan Arthur

"I'm gonna draw a penis on your forehead. Cool?"
1 stars

Younger filmgoers may not remember that at one time - a brief time, to be sure - the "National Lampoon" tag at the beginning of a movie was actually a good thing. It's been a good long time since Animal House or the first Vacation, folks, and the years in-between haven't been kind to the National Lampoon seal (I seem to be the only person I know who admits to liking Van Wilder). Anymore, it just seems like they'll rubber stamp the National Lampoon name on anything (see Dorm Daze, Gold Diggers or Vegas Vacation...actually: don't), whether it's funny or not. That certainly seems to be the case with National Lampoon's Adam & Eve, where it looks like a third of the film's $349.85 budget went into purchasing the rights to the National Lampoon name, another third went towards product placement with Rockstar Games and the remainder went into discount sex novelties.

Adam & Eve is all about the relationship between the two title characters: Adam (Cameron Douglas, son of Michael) is a college frat guy who works (at least in the first five minutes) as a pizza delivery guy, but who also is a guitar-playing, singing, songwriting sensitive guy who's just looking for the right girl. Aren't we all. He spies sorority hottie Eve (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and they awkwardly meet cute before falling in lust. Alas, Eve's a virgin and continues to hold off Adam's march south towards the tropics, resulting in frustration of the blueball nature. Will she eventually give in, allowing them the chance to consummate their union? And will it happen before or after Adam succumbs to the feminine wiles of the local blond slut who may or may not have VD (Courtney Peldon)? What do you think?

This being a hybrid of a college-aged romance/sex comedy, there are also numerous attempts at gross-out humor. Pubic hair shaving jokes, pee drinking, sex dolls, drunken shenanigans (including a car crash that was so obviously done slow-speed that you'll be shaking your head at the inanity of it), slobby friends with nasty personal habits (standing up to wipe your ass?)...all lifted from better sexcoms, and all not funny in the least here. That's right: a romance you won't believe at all and a comedy where you won't laugh once. It's a special kind of outright failure.

Douglas hasn't seemed to have picked up much of anything from his famous acting family. He's got no presence and seems to mumble or slur virtually all of his line readings (maybe there's a tongue piercing to go with all the bad boy tats) and just generally looks scummy. As Eve, Chriqui (Wrong Turn) is exquisite and über-cute, but you don't once buy into her attraction to Adam. I mean, really: the character of Adam is essentially a couple of cheesy pick-up lines from a guy in a hat that looks like it was won at a local carnival, and all of a sudden she's all swoony? There's no chemistry between the two leads at all. Chriqui merely looks hot and cute and pouty when the two are at odds, and then cute and hot and sly smiles when they're together, while Douglas is just kind of there. They're just doing line readings with each other, not emoting, save for a scene where Eve confronts Adam about his infidelity. Once the yelling starts, there's a little more spark (all on Chriqui's part), but even that is short-lived. You still don't believe for a second that the two are a couple or that they're meant for each other, but it least it's a step up from the monotony. Clearly she's better suited to me.

As far as the supporting cast of characters goes, it's every college cliché thrown into the mix. There are the best friends at Adam's frat and Eve's sorority: the disheveled guy who smokes cigarette after cigarette while dispensing advice and never seems to move from the couch, the redheaded loser (Brian Klugman, best known - to me, anyway - as the stoner from Can't Hardly Wait who exclaims "GOD, you're a HOTTIE" to an incredulous Jennifer Love Hewitt) who seems to be a social misfit yet ends up hooking up with one of Eve's sorority sisters (the uniquely named China Shavers), the muscleheaded jock who may or may not end up with Eve while Adam wallows in self pity...and so on. All stereotypical characters, all done better in other movies. Nothing new here, please move along.

And the overall film itself...bad. On every. Single. Level. I'd rather rub my eyes out with Douglas' stepmother's breasts than sit through it again. Actually, I'd rather do that than do most things, really. The look of the film is so bush league: the indoor scenes are all poorly lit, so you can never really tell what's going on unless the actors are shown in close up, the sets - specifically the frathouse and its interiors - all seem to have been designed not to look like an actual college hangout, but like what colleges looked like in the late 70s/early movies, not in real life. The film just seems to move from setup/joke to long stretch of nothing happening to setup/joke without exploring the actual story (flimsy though it is), written by first-timer Justin Kanew. Justin's dad Jeff Kanew directed, and while he had a string of okay-to-bad comedies during the 80's (Revenge Of The Nerds, Gotcha!, Troop Beverly Hills, V.I. Warshawski...) the direction here is completely pedestrian. There's no sense of any kind of understanding of how the film is supposed to work either as a romance or a comedy, and you'd think that the director of Revenge Of The Nerds would have at least some inkling about how to make a sex comedy work. But no, you'd be wrong.

Chriqui's gorgeous (and how) but gets no chance to show any comedy or dramatic chops, and Douglas looks and acts like he just woke up in every scene. But it wouldn't matter who was starring: the material's awful, and even the best actors can only do so much with a serviceable script, and this is nowhere near serviceable. There are movies that are so bad that they come back to being a good bad film. This is not one of those instances. Adam & Eve is atrociously bad and completely unsalvageable.

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originally posted: 11/02/05 07:35:07
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User Comments

1/17/13 matthew thompson dalldorf In one scene we see the old NL back. Sadly, it was all to fleeting 2 stars
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  04-Nov-2005 (R)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2006



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