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Miss March

missmarch

Movie review by Greg Carlson

There is almost nothing humorous about “Miss March,” a putrid road trip comedy written, directed by, and starring (as far as that word might go in this case) Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore, a pair of bland goofballs best known for the sketch comedy series “The Whitest Kids U’ Know.” Raunchy sex comedies are not always expected to combine wit, sensitivity, and depth of characterization with the ribaldry in their arsenal of familiar situations, but “Miss March” is a complete black hole – a void that crushes everything the filmmakers so desperately throw in the mix.

In “Miss March,” a naïve high school kid named Eugene Pratt (Cregger) finally agrees to have sex with devoted girlfriend Cindi (Raquel Alessi) on prom night, but gets drunk and seriously injures himself before the act is consummated. He awakens from a coma four years later to discover that his sweetheart has left him to appear in the pages of Playboy. At the urging of his rubber-faced, oversexed best pal Tucker (Moore), Eugene resolves to travel to California to reunite with Cindi. Hilarity should ensue, but “Miss March” never gets a solid footing. It is the work of unseasoned feature filmmaking beginners, which emanates from every frame like body odor.

The movie only delivered two audience laughs in the screening I attended. One involved an unfortunate character bounced through the window of a moving bus and the other was a sight gag in which a terrier relieved itself into a champagne flute. The remainder of the (mercifully brief) running time was accompanied by an airlessness so complete one could hear the proverbial rodent peeing on a cotton ball. Bodily functions, including a gross running gag in which the protagonist voids his bowels – sometimes graphically and in view – form one of the unwanted leitmotifs of “Miss March.” Others include a lame subplot involving the pursuit of the heroes by an angry mob of vengeful firemen and the repetitious correction of boorish rapper Horsedick.MPEG’s idiotic name. Characters inevitably forget to add the “dot MPEG” and are corrected every single time. All of these things do not sound particularly funny and they are even less so when realized on the screen.

“Miss March” suffers all the marks of a bargain basement production: the dialogue looping is wretched in several scenes, the sound mix flat and lifeless, the editing clumsy and the pacing haphazard. The producers didn’t even cough up enough cash to land the J. Geils Band’s “Centerfold” – which is certainly an inspiration for the movie’s storyline – on the soundtrack. The pop smash, which spent six weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 beginning in February 1982, manages to convey in three and a half minutes what “Miss March” fails to do at feature length. Even the venerable Playboy Mansion loses any of the luster, glamour, and mystique it can demonstrate when photographed for smarter shows like “Entourage” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

“Miss March” carries with it the essentially worthless stamp of official Playboy approval, which leads one to wonder whether the once mighty empire turns down any media requests these days. It seems like a student moviemaker could secure permission to shoot at the Playboy Mansion. Octogenarian Hugh Hefner, in trademark jammies and smoking jacket, appears in a painful extended cameo in which he mumbles through some condescending romance advice, looking more tired than ever. Like the rest of “Miss March,” the scene is as flat as soda without the fizz.

This review was also published in the High Plains Reader the week of 3/16/09.

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