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Movie Review

Best friends Eugene and Tucker play adventure games and ogle basketball cards when they're boys. That is, until they find a Playboy magazine in Eugene's older brother's closet.

They're horrified.

But within three weeks, Tucker is ogling little girls' derrieres on the playground. Ten years later in high school, he's ranking their bodies and hitting on them with crude come-ons. He's already slept with 12 girls—going on 600, according to him. He's had his own Playboy subscription since he was about 9.

There goes the ridiculous theory of reading porn mags for the articles.

Eugene, however, takes a different path. In high school, he and his girlfriend, Cindi, speak at abstinence seminars, warning middle schoolers about the dangers of premarital sex, sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancy. Yet Cindi still thinks they're "ready" to take the plunge and encourages Eugene to stop imagining the worst; they won't suffer the same horrible consequences other teens have. Eugene concedes, and they agree to "go all the way" on prom night.

To combat first-time nerves as Cindi waits in an upstairs bedroom, Eugene gets so drunk he mistakes the basement door for the hallway and violently falls down the stairs. After a four-year-long coma, he finally comes to with the "help" of Tucker's baseball bat. (Miss March is that kind of comedy.) Eugene's whole world has changed around him. His dad has moved to Florida. His body is useless and incontinent. And his once pure and gracious Cindi has become Playboy's "Miss March."

The only solution is a wild, sexually charged and lesbian "highlighted" cross-country trek with Tucker to the Playboy Mansion. They're counting on the help of their now-famous rapper friend (whose stage name is foul enough that my editor won't even put it in the cast list for this review) to get past the mansion's bouncers. Eugene will then confront his girl and Tucker will flee his own troubles with Candace, the girlfriend he won't commit to.

It's a buddy road-trip movie that guarantees to nauseate through more than mere carsickness.

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Positive Elements

Despite Tucker's sexual, emotional and intellectual obliviousness, he is loyal to Eugene and does try to help him (when he's not hurting him).

Eugene believes sex is special and approaches it with a romantic attitude. He's sickened by Cindi's choice to pose nude for millions of men and feels betrayed by the one person he thought he could trust. Despite her bad choices, Cindi proves to Eugene that she still loves him and has been caring for him in a self-sacrificial—if misguided—way.

Spiritual Content

The (for our purposes, nameless) rapper thanks God immediately after dropping the f-bomb. Tucker blithely thanks God that an ugly girl died young, and he mentions Him as he watches women have sex.

Sexual Content

It's no surprise that a movie named after a Playboy Bunny of the month would contain graphic sexual content. A lot of it.

As a boy, after his first Playboy encounter, Tucker quickly began objectifying girls. To him, they are no longer friends; they are a chance for a good time. As an adult, Tucker gives Candace a stripper pole as an "anniversary" gift. Candace is perturbed at first. Then she warms up to the idea and puts on a show for Tucker and the camera. The song to which she strips (down to her bra and panties) revolves around masturbation.

Candace gives Tucker oral sex. We witness only his facial reactions until she has an epileptic seizure; then the camera backs up and shows her head and his body as he and she thrash around. Tucker excitedly watches as a girl (a stranger) exposes her breasts and prepares to have sex with him.

Numerous other couples make out and grope each another. In an extended scene, two women strip naked and have boisterously explicit, prop-assisted sex in the backseat of a car while Tucker drives toward L.A.

The camera ogles nearly naked women in bikinis, g-strings or high-cut shorts. Some of them wear only body paint. Playboy and other porn mags make several appearances. There's a shot of Eugene's bare backside and a close-up of the pubic region of a man born without a penis.

The rapper expresses puzzlement and outrage when he hears that Eugene is still a virgin. He says he has sex with women in order to hurt them, not love them. And he raps about sexually conquering a "white chick." (Using intentionally outrageous language, lyrics express anatomically impossible sexual activities.)

Obscene conversations are the norm; they run the gamut from discussions of anal sex to oral sex to premature ejaculation to a woman nursing a dog. Graphic slang routinely stands in for sexual body parts and sexual acts. Tucker has nipple-shaped "dice" hanging from his rearview mirror. A sex doll shows up in one scene.

Violent Content

Eugene's coma is induced by him falling down stairs, getting hit in the head with a toolbox—and then an entire shelving unit. Four years later, Tucker cracks the comatose Eugene in the face with a baseball bat. Eugene's doctor does the same thing to another patient. Though we don't see the blows, we hear them and see the resulting injuries. A woman is bounced out of a moving tour bus's window. Tucker stabs Candace with a fork, leaving her with facial wounds.

While lighting a pipe, Tucker sets fire to and destroys a motel. Firemen attack Tucker and Eugene by throwing axes and trying to drive them off the road with their trucks and hoses. As he crudely confronts Cindi about her Bunny career, Eugene is repeatedly slugged in the face by a Playboy Mansion bodyguard who thinks he's being disrespectful. In his weakened state, Eugene is pushed around, pushed into things, pushed over, hit and generally abused—all for laughs.

Tucker falls asleep at the wheel, causes other drivers to have accidents, and crashes a car into signposts and telephone poles. He smashes through a window. He's held down and faces decapitation, execution style with axes, as he tries to apologize to Candace. Candace twists Tucker's arm behind his back. And she grabs a bouncer's groin.

Crude or Profane Language

The f-word rears its ugly head close to 75 times. More than half the time, it's used sexually. The s-word is used a dozen or more times. Tucker, Eugene et al abuse God's name about 25 times and Jesus' twice. Milder profanities and sexual crudities (one of them being the rapper's name) drive the foulness tally into the low-to-mid 200s.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The rapper, Eugene and others get high from smoking blunts. Alcohol is part and parcel with the partying lifestyle; characters drink to have fun, loosen up and just plain get drunk. Tucker gets and smokes (or at least tries to smoke) a pipe.

Other Negative Elements

It's OK to hook up with unattractive girls if they really make you feel good, Hugh Hefner teaches Tucker. He tells him a story of his supposed first romance with just such a girl, telling Tucker he would willingly trade in his "phenomenal sex life" for one more afternoon with this woman from his past. That last bit may sound positive on the surface, but I just can't justify giving it much credit considering the source. As if it's high praise for females everywhere, Hefner goes on to say he believes there's a little bit of "Bunny" in every woman, regardless of her appearance.

Tucker takes Hefner's words to heart, offering Candace a lopsided apology. He tells her that even though her disfigured face (by his own fork!) is a liability in their relationship, he still wants to "hang out" exclusively with her.

Hefner also tells Tucker to focus on the "quality," not quantity of his relationships. And with a smirk and a wink, Tucker points out the fact that Hefner is currently having a "quality" relationship with six or seven girls at once.

Tucker mocks Candace for having epilepsy, and he jokes that she "vibrates" when they have sex. Learning-impaired people are also ridiculed, as are those who think abstinence is a good idea before marriage. Firemen are portrayed as crazy, violent and vindictive.

Bathroom humor includes Eugene's loss of bowel control when he's under stress. (We either hear or see the results several times.) When the man's groin is shown, liquid drips from it. Close-up medical pictures of STI-inflamed genitalia are shown at the abstinence seminars.

Tucker uses a dog to pick up women, then throws the pooch over his shoulder to avoid getting caught by its owner. Said dog urinates into a woman's glass before she unknowingly drinks (and enjoys) it. At least one woman vomits because she's drunk.

Conclusion

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair," Shakespeare wrote some 400 years ago. He never had to sit through a screening of Miss March, though. How ruthlessly is foul favored and fair flagellated in this film? Let me count the ways. ...

Eugene eventually decides that a career in pornography is acceptable if the girl's motives are pure, and he accepts the fact that Cindi's had sex with other men, rationalizing that he has a real relationship with her and they don't. According to Miss March, Playboy Bunnies aren't choosing a degrading lifestyle at all; they are merely using their beautiful bodies to entertain men—while empowering themselves. Addicted to pornography, Tucker righteously (and routinely) defends what he thinks of as the high-brow calling Bunnies fulfill.

Sex is simultaneously portrayed as supremely important and utterly meaningless. And marriage, here, means the end of sexual satisfaction.

If Miss March were mocking the Playboy lifestyle to make a point, it would be one thing—albeit a crude, offensive and unwatchable thing. But that's not what's going on. It's like Los Angeles Times critic Glenn Whipp puts it in his review: "If Miss March possessed at least one decent idea, it would be tempting to think that it's intentionally parodying the vapidity of the Playboy "philosophy." ... But Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore, who wrote, directed and star in Miss March, make the film into an unfunny wish-fulfillment fantasy for adolescent boys afraid of girls."

Whipp concludes with this: "The best line comes when a bodyguard socks Eugene, saying, 'It sticks in my craw when people disrespect women.' Again: Self-awareness, anyone?"

It comforts me a little bit, and would probably comfort Shakespeare, too, that as I'm writing this, Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer for Miss March stands at a 6 percent "fresh" rating. Maybe, at least in this instance, fair has a fighting chance of remaining fair, and foul, foul.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

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