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Wild Cherry DVD Review

Wild Cherry DVD cover art - click to buy DVD from Amazon.com Wild Cherry

Running Time: 85 Minutes / Rating: R / Video Debut: June 28, 2011 / Songs List

Director: Dana Lustig / Writers: Grant Vetters, David Kolbowicz (written by); Chris Charney (written by & screenplay)

Cast: Tania Raymonde (Helen McNicol), Rumer Willis (Katlyn Chase), Kristin Cavallari (Trish Van Doren), Jesse Moss (Brad "Skeets" Skeetowski), Ryan Merriman (Stanford Prescott), John White (Franklin Peters), Tia Carrere (Ms. Haumea), Rob Schneider (Nathan McNicol), Jeff Wahl (Scar), Joel Labelle (Marco), Tegan Moss (Hannah), Bryan Clark (Jared Chase), Cory Wojcik (Coach Becker), Curtis Moore (Mr. Potzwild), Ashley Mayberry (Hagatha), Benjamin Beauchemin (Student Commentator), Elle King (Sabrina)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish; Not Closed Captioned
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Suggested Retail Price: $27.97; Also available on Blu-ray Disc ($29.97 SRP)

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When a movie takes a while to find distribution, it's natural to wonder why that is. The teen sex comedy Wild Cherry had its premiere at the European Film Market back in February 2009 and aired on Canada's The Movie Network two months later. It arrives on DVD and Blu-ray this week with no question over its delay.
It's a terrible movie that any studio should have hesitated to put their name on. Image Entertainment, not the most discriminating of distributors, decided it could make some money off a home video release and it's pinning its hopes on the image of a heavily-airbrushed young woman baring her pierced midriff in a much too small football jersey numbered "69."

The woman is Helen McNicol (occasional "Lost" player Tania Raymonde, whose surname the opening credits misspell), a 17-year-old high school senior who is planning to lose her virginity soon to her boyfriend Stanford (Ryan Merriman). Helen is stopped by her two best friends, Katlyn Chase (Rumer Willis, spawn of Bruce and Demi) and Trish Van Doren ("The Hills"' Kristin Cavallari), who have confirmed the rumors about the Benjamin Dover (ha ha!) High School football team maintaining a "bang book" which challenges the players to deflower their handful of chaste female classmates during the season.

Those stupid jock boys with sex on their minds may have met their match, when the students of the opposite sex band together and vow not to let the guys have their way.

Upon learning about the boys' bang book, best friends Katlyn (Rumer Willis), Helen (Tania Raymonde), and Trish (Kristin Cavallari) make a pact not to give up their virginities.

What a fun idea for a movie, right?! Particularly a movie taking its name from a 1970s band and casting Rob Schneider as a concerned single father who loads up on assorted contraceptives from the pharmacy to educate Helen on safe sex.

Wild Cherry is a rancid foray into narrative filmmaking for a trio of Canadian screenwriters: former production coordinator Grant Vetters, newbie David Kolbowicz, and documentarian Chris Charney (who alone is credited with the screenplay). These three men have some of the worst taste in comedy I've ever encountered. They seem to dissociate with many of their bad ideas, passing them off as the product of horny teen males. But no one will suspect real experience of shaping the infantile script, which finds the jock called "Skeets" (Merriman's Final Destination 3 co-star Jesse Moss) ejaculating into an ice cube tray and making a papier-mâché mold of his penis.

Such cringeworthy jokes are supposed to be tempered by a candid discussion of teen sex, with Chase making a documentary about her classmates' first times, which finds them addressing the camera When Harry Met Sally...-style to recall how short, awkward, and unsatisfying it was. All three adjectives apply to Vetters, Kolbowicz, and Charney's first time as comedy writers, since the movie runs just 85 minutes with credits and uses them for discomforting gags sure to charm not even the excitable teens this is presumably meant for.

The boys of the football team (John White, Ryan Merriman, and Jesse Moss) are tricked into getting naked next to one another outside the Benjamin Dover High School pool. In a far cry from his usual roles, Rob Schneider plays a sad little dad who doesn't want his only daughter to go to college in Paris.

Director Dana Lustig, primarily a producer, doesn't uncover anything that isn't on the page with a standard presentation that moves from one stupid situation to another. (She does, however, get small billing both above and below the cover's title.)
The bland performances hold little promise for the young cast, most of which isn't young enough to still be playing high school parts, although the three-week shoot did occur over three years ago. IMDb reports the film's production budget as $3.5 million, a sum I see no way of this film ever making back.

Spoiler alert? While we've already ruled out comedy, don't expect to find much sex here, either; contributing to Wild Cherry's R rating are some over-the-bra groping and fully-clothed masturbation simulation, which the oft-leered-at Raymonde gets to do not once but twice, the played-for-laughs first involving such things as an iPod-connected device and a carrot and the more serious second unearthing that first orgasm that has thus far eluded her. Oh, and in one of the dumbest bits, the three lead boys are pranked into standing nude, blindfolded, and, unknowingly, next to one another at the school pool, covering themselves up. For a youth-oriented movie convinced that sex is on all youths' minds, Wild Cherry doesn't think to cater to such carnal desires, not that showing more would make this any less wretched.

VIDEO and AUDIO

The DVD's 1.78:1 widescreen presentation looks fine, unharmed by anything worse than mild interlacing. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is big on small music you haven't heard of (full list at the bottom of this review). Dialogue is crisp and clear. English SDH and Spanish subtitles, not quite standard Image inclusions, are kindly offered. The lack of closed captions, though, is a bit unnecessary, considering someone receives a closed captioning credit in the closing scroll.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

The DVD's only extra is an unappealing trailer for Wild Cherry (1:40). Trailers for 50 Cent's Gun (know thy audience) and ExTerminators play at disc insertion.

After a short intro, the menu plays faded clips in the clouds behind the cover art pose while The Maine's end credits song "Everything I Ask For" plays, s-word and all. Void of inserts, the standard keepcase compensates for its eco-friendly cuts with a completely redundant slipcover.

Helen (Tania Raymonde) tries pleasuring herself with a device that connects to an iPod in scenes sure to embarrass the actress sooner or later. For no good reason, Tia Carrere plays Ms. Haumea, a teacher/bookstore employee who educates the girls on "the power of pussy."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Wild Cherry looks awful and it is in fact a tad worse than that. Now that it's finally been released, this skeevy high school sex comedy should set back everyone involved with it, deservingly so since no one is completely free of blame for the many tasteless failings. I'm skeptical that anyone equipped with less than unwavering admiration for a cast member (none of whom deserve such passion here) will find this anything but an affront.

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Wild Cherry Songs List: Jesse Moss - "Van Do You Van Doren", The MAINE - "Girls Do What They Want", Peech - "Missin' L.A.", Rumer Willis - "Wild Cherry", Peech - "Adam's Song", Peech - "Misery", "En Sourdine", "Let's Get Away", "Bliss", The Vacation - "No Sense in Rain", The Vacation - "You Better Run", Without Tomorrow - "Crash", Peech - "Down on Me", Candy Bullet - "Naïve", Tal Bergman - "Argentine Krump", Tal Bergman and Ron DeJesus - "Nice Thong", The 77's - "Snake", Candy Bullet - "Info Zombie", Tal Bergman and Ron DeJesus - "The Underhill", "Dans Les Rues De Paris", Loren Gold and Gene Siegel - "15 Going On 20", Aymeja - "Final Theory", April Smith - "High School Memory", Bidwell - "Superficial Entity", The 77's - "Mr. Magoo", The Vacation - "Honey", Kandice Melonakos and Tolga Katas - "I'm Alive", "Groovy Love Thang", "Noel Vainqueur", Bidwell - "Sugar", Without Tomorrow - "Scars", RAKELI - "Prends Mon Coeur En Voyage", April Smith - "The Bells", Bidwell - "The Difference", The MAINE - "Everything I Ask For"

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Reviewed June 30, 2011.



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