When I happened to stumble across this film, it was entitled Barely Legal and not After School Special. Truth is, the film is barely watchable and feels more like a drunken after dinner daydream than an after school special. Is there an audience for this sort of material? Are there people that will enjoy a film like Barely Legal? The film isn't really about anything as much as it is a documentation of producing pornography or the meek attempt at making pornography and all the hassle that it involves. What really grates, and this is an underlying theme, is that watching a really bad film is one thing but watching a really bad film about people attempting to make a really bad film within the universe of what we're seeing is just painful.
The film, a part of the National Lampoon series (whatever that is), was directed by David M. Evans (answers on a postcard as to what the 'M' might stand for) whose previous crimes against cinema include the 3rd and 4th Beethoven outings some years ago and who is also scheduled to direct the up and coming 'Ace Ventura Junior' film. That should be, if Jim Carrey sequels/prequels not starring Jim Carrey are anything to go by in the form of Son of the Mask and Dumb and Dumberer, utterly unwatchable at the very best.
This particular little travesty however follows three young American boys at high school as they attempt to feed off Tony Montana's ideation of 'getting the money, getting the power and getting the women'. Yeah, trouble is Tony Montana had nothing to do with making pornography and Barely Legal has nothing to do with chasing the American dream: it's just clueless, horny kids using porn as a front to get closer to girls. The film is fundamentally flawed in every retrospect. Any film entitled 'Barely Legal' which revolves around people making pornography and still manages to worm its way into a realm of the '15' certificate over here in Britain instead of the '18' certificate has to have done something cataclysmically wrong during the making process. Clearly, the BBFC deem it not all that bad in terms of gratuity and I just wonder if that was the certificate the makers were aiming for I doubt it.
The boys making the film are Deacon (von Detten); Fred (Denman) and Matt (Farber), three hapless individuals given mercilessly unfunny introductions about their relationships toward girls and some of their 'habits' when it comes to communicating with them. The film totally disregards women from the off but the sad fact is that's an absolute given in this genre. There is lots of slow motion, lots of hair flicking and cutesy smiling girls looking flirtatious although any sane viewer will just yawn at it all. At one point in the film, a character whilst making the porno exclaims something along the lines of "Women's points of view don't even matter in these sorts of movies" and he's sort of hit the nail on the head for all the wrong reasons when he says 'these sorts of movies', is it the real film actually recognising how rubbish it knows it is? If so then it's admitting it is rubbish; if not, then it's admitting to its blatant sexism right there.
I think when the people that wrote this actually finished it, they were twenty or so pages short of 90 odd minutes. Thus, the messy and dull narrative that opens up to do with Deacon loosing his friends as the project falls apart is silly and doesn't work; it feels thrown in and manufactured out of the primary story about kids wanting girls so they make porn. It's the overall idea I don't understand. When will people learn that pornography is not funny? When will people realise that films about pornography are not funny? Glimpses or very quick cuts of bras, nipples and so forth do-not-make-people-laugh, simple; they are an on screen visualisation of someone's fantasy writ down and writ large across the screen for others to see it's not funny and it's a waste of everyone's time.
IMDb has this film on its 'release dates' page opening at Cannes, in May 2003 it's one of those screenings at Cannes you just wish you were there for, purely for the reaction and the witnessing of the mass walkout I'm sure there was, that is of course if the fact it was shown there is true in the first place. Supposedly, Irreversible is the most walked out of film at Cannes ever, but that's only because no one was paying any attention to the screenings of this junk. Everywhere else, this was direct to DVD and the cast probably wanted it swept under the carpet for good measure. When the friendships have been broken down and patched up in doubly quick time, there's time for local porn king Vic Ramalot (Sanz) to waltz around in public complete with gun drawn hunting for the kids who he assumes to be up and coming rivals threatening his business. It really is that daft and that bad.