21st Sep2013

‘The Last American Virgin’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lawrence Monoson, Steve Antin, Diane Franklin, Joe Rubbo, Kimmy Robertson, Louisa Moritz | Written and Directed by Boaz Davidson

TLAV-cast

I’ve long been a fan of The Last American Virgin, no doubt due to my obsessions as a teenager with the ingenue that is Diane Franklin. Having enjoyed Better Off Dead (where she played a French exchange student Monique Junot) and then caught her “stirring” performance in Amityville 2: The Possession I was eager to see more of the sctresses ample charms. And that’s how I discovered Boaz Davidson’s The Last American Virgin

The film follows three friends, Gary (Monoson), Rick (Antin) and David (Rubbo), as they stumble from one sexual escapade to the other, taking in nymphomaniac Latin dance teacher Carmilla (Moritz), a red-headed hooker who gives them crabs and a bevy of teenage girls eager and willing to give it up for a line of coke and a dance. However its not all fun and frolics for Gary and his friends, the film takes a sombre turn in the final third as one of the trio gets a girl pregnant and the film switches from bawdy romp to a grim tale of the consequences of reckless abandon.

Having previously helmed the first three installments in the Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus produced Israeli teen sex comedy series Lemon Popsicle, Davidson and his producers – who by this time were operating under the now-famous Cannon Films moniker – took their particular style of raw filmmaking to the States to remake the incredibly popular sex comedy (updating it for the 80s rather than setting it, a la American Graffiti, in the 50s) for the American market, hoping to re-create the same success and have their own US-centric teen sex comedy franchise. Sadly that didn’t happen as The Last American Virgin was not the hit everyone thought it would be – probably due to the more downbeat tone and the straight-edge moral ethics at the films core compared to other American made teen comedies of the time.

Much like the Lemon Popsicle films, which were famous for their extensive use of 50s music, The Last American Virgin has an awesome soundtrack featuring songs which many now consider American standards, from artists such as Blondie, Journey, The Police and The Cars – although watching the film back now you realise the film uses the same few tracks over and over including “Whip It” by Devo and “Are You Ready for the Sex Girls?” by Gleaming Spires early in the film, as well as “Open Arms” by Journey and “Oh No” by The Commodores when the going gets more serious.

Being incredibly familiar with the film itself (its one of the many teen flicks I have on DVD, even if I did have to import it from the States) I was excited to see what Arrow Video would bring to the film with their new Blu-ray release and it’s safe to say I’m VERY impressed. Yes there are still some issues with the print, especially in the darker scenes, but these are few and far between. Otherwise the Blu-ray looks stunning and it’s hard to believe that the film is 21 years old. The Last American Virgin has never looked so good!

Arrow’s cracking print is coupled with another great set of extras including all-new interviews with director Boaz Davidson, actors Lawrence Monoson and Diane Franklin, and cinematographer Adam Greenberg; making The Last American Virgin an essential purchase for fans of the film and fans of 80s teen cinema in general.

Film: ***** 5/5
Blu-ray: ***** 5/5

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