100 Girls (2000)
“He met the girl of his dreams. If only he can meet her again.”
Director: Michael Davis
Cast: Jonathan Tucker, Emmanuelle Chriqui, James DeBello
Synopsis: This sexy, teen-comedy is about a freshman, Matthew, at college who meets his dream girl in a dorm elevator during a blackout. He never sees her face, but instantly falls in love.
The American teen comedy genre is so overburdened these days that any addition has to be something special to get noticed. Unfortunately, Michael Davis’s 100 Girls, while reasonably well-written, contains little to set it apart from others of its ilk, a fact which might explain why it was released direct to video in the States.
Jonathan Tucker plays Matthew, a slightly geeky college kid who enjoys a one-night stand with a girl in a lift during a blackout. He awakens in the morning to find himself alone in the lift with only a pair of his fellow standee’s panties for company, and a major case of the hots for their owner. The remaining 93 minutes of the movie follows Matthew’s increasingly bizarre attempts to identify his mystery lover from one of 100 girls living in the college dorms.
A movie like this, you know it’s only a matter of time before the male protagonist finds himself crammed into female clothes; it’s a development that is as obvious as it is banal, and there lies one of this movies main faults: like a bright pupil prone to fooling around at the back of the class, 100 Girls swings from amusing (if hardly original) insight to juvenile antics and back again with annoying regularity. It’s almost as if writer/director Davies is over-conscious of the diversity of his target audience and is trying to please them all by, for example, injecting unnecessary female nudity between some bright philosophical musing on the differences between men and women; while this reviewer enjoys the female form as much as the next man, I feel a movie that contains its exposure should at least take a shot at justifying its inclusion instead of simply yelling HERE’S A T– SHOT TO KEEP THE BOYS INTERESTED.
Unfortunately, this is the problem throughout the movie: Davis objectifies women throughout (all the women in the dorm are hotties — the one exception being Doris (Marissa Ribisi — True Crime) who is, of course, a hottie disguised as a not-hottie) while professing to deify them. Even as Matthew — who hardly ever shuts up — waxes lyrical about the majesty of women, the camera lingers lovingly over the silky curves of a mystery woman, who just happens to be that smart, bookish, not-hottie we were talking about earlier, the missing part of her life filled now that she knows that she too can be the object of male lust. And Matthew’s actions throughout border on the pervy: he infests the girl’s dorm with white mice so that he, in the guise of a maintenance man, can closely inspect the contents of their panties drawers to find the matching bra to the panties he possesses; he prowls their rooms at the weekend (when found by one girl crouching in her shower the girl, who turns out to be an old school friend, reminisces with him about the good old days instead of reporting him to the authorities); and he wins their confidence through lies and deceit. Mind you, as the only two other males in the flick are a narcissistic bully/rapist and a misogynistic, grungy flatmate who spends most of the movie wearing a device to enlarge a certain part of his anatomy, it’s hardly surprising that all the women seem to find him adorable.
Many of Matthew’s observations manage to amuse while they attempt to encapsulate every thought every man has ever had about the differences between the sexes, and it’s clear that Davis has invested a lot of thought in the script. It has to be said that the movie is never boring, but you get the impression that he listed all these observations and then tried to figure out a story in which he could include them all. Hardly anybody has a half-way normal conversation: instead of talking to one another, they’re all too busy making wry observations so that we never really become interested in them as characters.
Bottom line: in trying to cater for the entire teenage spectrum, Davis has cast his net too wide, thereby weakening what is intended to be an essentially sweet-natured tale. While the final result is vastly superior to much of the teen dross out there, and the quality of the writing suggests Davis has talent, it still falls short.
(Reviewed 21st August 2005)