Plot: What’s it about?
In the realm of adult entertainment (a.k.a. porno), Ronny Bartolotti (Robert Loggia) is the cock of the walk and his empire towers over all others. But he isn’t an actor in these skin flicks, he is the producer of them and that means he keeps the bulk of the cash proceeds involved. He has the best talent in the business and to be honest, it is doubtful the competition will ever catch up to him. But one of his rivals is Joey Quinn (Bob Hoskins), who hates Bartolotti for personal & professional reasons, as Ronny stole his wife some time back. But Joey has some revenge on deck, as he is prepared to unleash a potent new virtual sex machine, which allows users to participate in special sex sessions his studio offers. The debut of this product offers a special treat, as users can virtually have sex with a beautiful young virgin, Katrina (Mena Suvari). The problem is, Katrina is Ronny’s little girl and he doesn’t want his daughter involved in the adult movie business. It won’t be easy to talk her out of this one, but Ronny is convinced that something can…and must be done.
I’ve been wanting to check this movie out for some, but some bad reviews had me wondering if it would be any good when I did view it. The reviews I had read seemed to pan the flick for being over the top and such, which I think is a good thing in a movie like this one. I’ve now seen the picture a couple times and while it is no masterpiece, I think it warrants at least a rental if you’re interested. Yes, the performances are way over the top at times, but with characters like these, I think they needed to be. Some solid names are involved such as Bob Hoskins, Robert Loggia, Mena Suvari, and Sally Kellerman and if you like their work, this is a film you’ll want to check out. The storyline is very unique and I found the film to be quite humorous, although if you don’t like sexual humor, this one won’t appeal to you. Is this is a modern classic? Of course not, but it is a fun way to burn about ninety minutes and laugh along the way. I recommend this as a rental to those interested, but fans will want to add this one to their collection, much like I have.
How many times are we going to watch Mena Suvari attempt to lose her virginity? This is her third film with American in the title in which she tries to snag some serious action. I think these roles do well enough for her now, but how much longer are we going to believe she’s still a virgin? Of course I am just kidding, but it is strange how Suvari ended up with another role such as this one, even if the three characters are very different. I think Suvari has some good potential, but she needs to leave the teen comedies & melodramas behind and aim for some substantial films. American Beauty was a good starting point, but even it was more suited to her comedic skills for the most part. She is easy on the eyes though, which is vital to her role in this movie. You can also see Suvari in American Beauty, American Pie, Loser, The Rage: Carrie 2, and The Slums of Beverly Hills. The rest of the cast is also impressive and includes Gabriel Mann (Outside Providence, Cherry Falls), Sally Kellerman (M*A*S*H, Back to School), Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Felicia’s Journey), and Robert Loggia (Return To Me, Bad Girls).
Video: How does it look?
American Virgin is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. Aside from some issues due to the lack of anamorphic enhancement, this is a very good transfer and I could find little to complain about. I saw some slight edge enhancement at times and a few specks on the print, but no other problems surface with this visual presentation. The colors seem bold & rich, with no smears and flesh tones appear natural & consistent also. I saw no flaws with the contrast either, as black levels are well balanced and detail levels always seems high. I wish this was anamorphic, but it still looks very good in the end.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a dialogue driven comedy and as such, the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track won’t overload your speakers. I wasn’t displeased with this mix though, as the music sounds terrific and the dialogue emerges in fine form also. The music is pretty cool and though it sometimes sounds like a television preacher’s theme music, I think it fits the movie very well and it sounds excellent in this track. The vocals come across in crisp & clear fashion, with no clarity or volume issues in the least. The disc also houses a French 2.0 surround track and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains the film’s theatrical trailer, some talent files, and an audio commentary with director Jean-Pierre Marois. The commentary is pretty good and has a lot of information, but Marois has a thick accent and can be a little hard to understand at times. Still though, I am pleased the track was included on this release.