National Lampoon's Adam and Eve
Once upon a time,
National Lampoon was a magazine. Then in 1978, they loaned their
name to a little movie called Animal House, which became the biggest
comedy hit ever. Then, National Lampoon started to become a
film factory, with occasional hits like National Lampoon's Vacation
and European Vacation, but more commonly they produced cheesy
overlooked comedies such as National Lampoon's Class Reunion, National
Lampoon Goes To the Movies and National Lampoon's Joy of Sex.
The mag is long gone and
most people lost track of the Lampoon name about the time of Christmas
Vacation. However, National Lampoon's corporate moniker has still
been used extensively for comedy movies. Most went straight-to-video
(or to straight-to-cable in the early years), stuff like Dorm Daze, Lost
Reality, Gold Diggers and the like. Occasionally over the decades,
the movies actually get wide theatrical release, most recently with Van
In the early going of
Adam and Eve, it appears that the movie is stretching out for the
Lampoon franchise. Not that, despite the title, they are doing their
first biblical drama, but instead of a raunchy sex romp which the logo
usually promises, it appears like it is going to be a romantic saga about
two college kids finding love. It does seem awfully mature for a
National Lampoon flick through these first scenes -- it has people talking
about their feelings, experiencing complicated emotions and offers no
gratuitous nudity. About a half hour in, the gross-out factor does
start to stir, mostly in the scenes with the hero's goofy,
arrested-development roommates. The movie eventually extricates itself
from those shock moments though, and returns to being a nice, if a little
bit shallow, romance.
Adam is played by Cameron Douglas, son
of movie star Michael and grandson of Kirk (with whom he costarred in his
only previous major film role, the vanity project It Runs In the Family)
pizza-delivery-guy-slash-aspiring-emo-folk-rocker. He lives in a
spectacularly, disgustingly messy house (even graded on the curve of a college residence) with
five rather annoying, alcoholic, drug-addicted, perverted, gross and more
than a little unsanitary roommates.
Eve (Emmanuelle Chriqui of
Waiting and Entourage) is a beautiful, good-hearted but
disliked outcast in her sorority (which makes little sense because she is
the prettiest girl in the house; you'd think she'd be running the place).
Eve is also the oldest... perhaps the only... attractive virgin in California.
The two meet cute, are
amused by the name coincidence and start to date. They quickly fall
for each other, but complications arise in their perfect affair when he wants some lovin' and she
just wants to cuddle.
We're never 100% sure why
she is holding on to her virginity so steadfastly; she insists that it is
not a religious choice, she is not a prude, she is more than willing to make
out topless, she is not planning to wait for
marriage and she obviously desires sex. Her mother (Terri Garber)
seems a little stuffy, so maybe that effected her choice, but her father
(George Dzundza) is obviously open and positive about sex, so it doesn't
seem like it's parental guidelines. Eve spouts some romantic stuff
about only wanting to have sex with THE one man for her, the man she loves,
but even when she acknowledges that she has met that man, she still will not
give in. Eventually it seems more like a plot point than an actual
decision based on character.
Therefore, Adam and Eve
movie that seems pro-peer-pressure when it comes to getting a girl to give
up her virginity. Everyone, but everyone, gives Eve a hard time for
holding on to her chaste beliefs. Even her father gives her a
little pep talk to maybe loosen up a bit. Adam takes to drinking heavily, partying
excessively with his wild buddies and flirting with a slutty girl he knows.
Will love win over sex? Will sex come with love?
Not exactly earth-shakingly
original questions, but the romantic scenes benefit from the fact that the
movie has two such likable stars. Chriqui, in particular, is charming,
gorgeous and natural. Frankly, she deserves a
stronger role, but she pulls off what is there in stride. Douglas doesn't quite have his family's acting chops,
but he is puppy-dog cute and can brood well on cue when needed.
Adam and Eve was
directed with economy (undoubtedly due to lack of budget) by
old-school teen-sex comedy veteran Jeff Kanew (Trivia buffs: he was the
creator of Revenge of the Nerds back in 1984) from a screenplay by
his son Justin. National Lampoon's Adam and Eve tries to have its
cake and eat it too. (Though, of course, Eve won't eat it.)
Despite the frat house slob comedy it is being sold as (just look at the
actually a relatively charming love story with a lot of party scenes shoehorned in.
These party scenes generally
don't work nearly as well -- a bash at the guys house doesn't look the least
bit fun -- even for this former frat guy. There are a bunch of drunken guys babbling about
nothing, not nearly enough girls, bad music and three (count 'em) very graphic
shots of partygoers throwing up. Perhaps this was the point, proving to Adam that this
debauched world is nothing compared to the calmer
pleasures of Eve's company. If that is the case though, the filmmakers
really aren't subtle enough to convey the message.
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Posted: October 28, 2005.