National Lampoon's Adam and Eve review by Tom Blain

I remember a time when the term National Lampoon was comedy gold. If you saw the name preceding the title a movie in the 80s, it was a sure fire sign a crude comic treat. As evidence of this, I provide you with not only Animal House but the entire Vacation series minus Vegas Vacation;a tragic 'nail in the coffin' of Chevy Chase's comic lead career. Lately, however, the Lampoon has lead a straight to video movie mediocrity campaign. Most movies seem to be taken from older formulas, like Christmas Vaction 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure and College Town USA. The latest venture is National Lampoon's Adam and Eve which again is a film set in college. Unfortunately, it didn't really deliver the goods.

So yes, despite the biblical title, Adam and Eve is actually a story about two college sweathearts. Adam (Cameron Douglas) is a mongoloid looking student who had a passion for the acoustic guitar (how novel for a college student to play guitar). He falls in love young Eve (Emmanuelle Chriqui) when as he sees her walking to class one day. When he plays guitar for her at a club, she in turn falls in love with him. Eve is an attractive, smart and hard working. She is also a virgin and intends on keeping it that way; a rarity these days. So there in-lies the struggle. They date for months on end and still Adam is pushed away from the nether regions.

College is filled with many temptations for young Adam. Sex is all around him. His roommates badger him about not "tapping that ass." Sex is on every TV channel in the form of Girls Gone Wild commericals. Even his own father is telling him to get out there and find a more willing girl before his college days are over. Meanwhile Eve is in a sorority filled with skanks, and what-have-you. She finds reassurance and suppoert from her parents on the subject and is strong and willing to keep herself chaste.

... well that doesn't sound much like a college comedy, does it?

There are plenty of elements of your standard college romp. All the guys live in one house and it looks like trash. There is a beer-a-mid at one point and it gets toppled over. Adam's friends are, for the most part, low-lifes who never make it out to class and are on the 8-year program (no-doctorate). In comparison the neandrathal Adam looks like a modern day Aristotle. They throw a house party and there is a loud indy band, a couple kegs, and plenty of "blowing-chunks" moments. Even the girl who tosses, has the 'token best friend holding her hair back'. Having said all that, there is another half of the movie that seems like an after school special about having or not having sex in college. Plenty of discussions are had between Eve and parents, Eve and new-found-best-friend, and Eve and slutty-roommates-who-sleep-with-anything. Then Adam has discussions with his sex-driven friends, his sex-deprived friends, his dad who re-inforces their advice "find a three-way", and even a discussion with the school doctor about STDs. All of these discussions sound like lessons on "what to do" or "what not to do". Like 'Dick and Jane go to College'. None of it is subtle; its as if the writer took notes in junior high sex-ed.

So my number one big complaint was the cross-over affect. Maybe not so much that college and lack-of-sexual-promescuity can't be touched on, but there should be a better segue in between contrasting scenes. Each scene is fairly black-and-white. This is like the after school special with boobs. You have a good wholesome girl, then porn on the internet. Its difficult to find a single point to the movie with so many mixed messages. Its a shame too because there were some funny moments and one liners ("It must have been good because it feels like I got hit by a bus"). Big complaint number two is the film quality. Its the type of film quality from first time directors, country music directors, or USA Up-All-Night directors. Shot selection, editing ... it all had this cheap 'hand held' camera feel. Jeff Kanew has been around the block and should know better.

I'm a little disapointed in the Kanew mostly because he has been there before. This is the guy who directed Revenge of the Nerds. After Animal House, Nerds was the #2 great college comedy of the 80s. It kept the momentum going so that movies like PCU and contemporary classic Old School could be made. As great as Nerds was Jeffrey Kanew isn't without sin. He created some of the most dated and horrible 80s movies in memory including Gotcha! (a movie capitalizing off both the popularity of paintball and the popularity of Anti-communist sentiment), Troop Beverly Hills (if you thought leaving Cheers was a good career decision for Shelley Long you should probably watch this movie) and into 1991 with V.I. Warshawski ("Detective if High Heels"). Despite these nose-bleeds, I expected him to return to college success with Adam and Eve. Alas it just wasn't meant to be.

Its half date movie (sort of), and half guy movie... put those two pieces together and they offset to equal zero. Some people in college still might enjoy this film since it will fairly topical. You can make a drinking game out of it on a rainy Friday night or something. (Rule 1: Every time pubic hair is seen or mentioned, drink). Other than that, I wouldn't expect too much from the ole Lampoon on this one.




2 out of 10 Jackasses
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