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PREMATURE (review)

Review by Todd Sokolove

Ready for sloppy seconds just a month after Edge of Tomorrow, Premature is yet another movie set in the Groundhog Day time loop. Coming to theaters Friday, it has been early-released on VOD and iTunes for your viewing pleasure.

This time around, the virginal doldrums of mid-to-post puberty serve as the backdrop, while the plot’s reset device is, in fact, the unfortunate hair-trigger that’s par for one’s sexual course.

 Here, the lead character is able to happy-ending his day, and hit reset my literally taking matters into his own hand.

What could have served as a great Horror-Fantasy from David Cronenberg (just sayin’), is instead played for big-time laughs here. While its being inevitably marketed as Groundhog Day meets American Pie, I was surprised to find it a lot smarter than even that cherished sex-comedy.

Director Dan Beers (FCU: Fact Checkers Unit) has a firm grip on High School student-body archetypes, all on the verge of becoming stereotypes. And although the comedy dips in to sitcom territory a bit, Premature has a really admirable mean-streak. Think more Savage Steve Holland over John Hughes.

Although the film owes a bit to the inevitably comparative Groundhog Day structure, it’s a blast to watch the film’s hero go from Farmer Ted to Ferris Bueller as his confidence grows with each reset. That first reset comes 24 minutes into the film, which is hardly premature. It’s efficiently paced, after which, the rest of the film goes solidly into a levelheaded, if not a tad predictable, climax.

Like so many teen comedies in recent years, Premature comes from the nerds-in-charge school of Freaks and Geeks, where the lead characters are both hopeless losers and hipster winners. One of them has had the privilege of losing his virginity, but is quick to describe sex as “like jerking off with the best sock on the planet.”

Lead actor John Karna gets a lot of those good lines too, but he very much rises up to the challenge of carrying the entire picture. He’s aided greatly by some clever physical comedy and sight-gags, but also a great support cast, which includes Firefly’s Alan Tudyk, who makes a scene stealing turn as a grieving college recruiter.

But more about that admirable mean-streak. While I’d be lying if I didn’t say I laughed out loud many, many times throughout Premature, a lot of the jokes are in poor taste. It’s not for everyone, but it is a refreshingly crude comedy. One that pulls laughs out of a college recruiter morning the loss of his wife from Lupus, an Israeli sex-slave named Uzi, and an Iranian grandmother with a penchant for violence, who just may have put a curse on our lead character. Like I said, comedy not for everyone’s funny bone.

For the rest of us sick bastards, it deserves to be this summer’s comedy sleeper hit, in a more R rated way that American Pie did 15 years ago during its summer fling.

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