Losin' It / The Last American Virgin Curtis Hanson / Boaz Davidson

Here are two ’80s cheese fests about that most important moment in a man’s life, only one of which manages to be actually entertaining. But despite the soon-to-be-famous members of the first film’s cast and crew, it’s the latter movie that’s the most spirited and watchable. Losin’ It is of course, notable for its hiring of Tom Cruise pre-fame and being helmed by Curtis Hanson pre-L.A. Confidential, but despite some low-budget skill displayed behind the camera it left a bad taste in my mouth. Its tale of four early ’60s high school boys going to Tijuana to lose their virginity is a bit of a double-dealer. Though it’s vaguely aware that the Mexican border town is being degraded and exploited by the rich gringos from across the border it can’t do anything other than keep its protags out of danger, and also subjects us to two of the most obnoxious characters in history. It might have worked with a more committed script but this one pulls out just before it can conceive. Meanwhile, The Last American Virgin goes for sloppy seconds and scores because it’s not encumbered by the need for logic or sense. It’s a bizarre combination of coming of age tale and gross-out comedy, with the poor protagonist constantly interrupted before he can actually get laid. Worse, he has a jerk friend who actually can get laid and has every intention of doing so with the girl on which our hero has been crushing. The film is ludicrous, jumping back and forth between failed "touching” drama and all-too-successful raunchiness while acting like nothing strange has happened, but that works in its favour, as who goes to this kind of movie for sensible filmmaking? It’s lively and silly, as a schlock sex comedy should be. (MGM)