All of Hollywood's teen raunch stereotypes are accounted for in this Groundhog Day-esque sexcapade.
If comedic Hollywood has anything to say about it, sex, and its pursuit, is pretty much all the average teenager has going on in life. What’s unfortunate for all those producing films for the teen comedy genre is that vulgarity envelope pushing seems to be par for the course (10 points for two idioms back-to-back). Whereas teen comedies American Pie and Superbad had some originality in that the former re-defined the virginity-loss pact style film with some strangely likable leads and the latter paired sexual pursuit with a nuanced emotional friendship, Premature isn’t offering any new content, just trying to cross-pollinate it with Groundhog Day’s looping time structure. Of course, adding a sci-fi element isn’t an especially original thing to do either, as Weird Science and Hot Tub Time Machine have demonstrated, so what ultimately keeps Premature from being a complete flop is that it too has a rather likable lead, and also that if there is a mathematical equation for “funny” the film’s laugh-to-groan ratio seems just high enough to keep it from falling on its face.
Rob (John Karna) goes to school one morning expecting to have a fairly average day, his biggest challenges being to win over the Georgetown recruiter he’s interviewing with, dodge bullies in the hallway, and end the day watching the National Spelling Bee with his best friend Gabrielle (Katie Findlay), an annual tradition. The day starts rough as his bully-dodging skills are sub-par and he ends up in his gym shorts for the recruiter interview, which also goes south when the overly emotional recruiter spends the time weeping for his dead wife instead of interviewing Rob. But things look up for Rob when high school hottie Angela (Carlson Young) asks Rob for a last-minute tutoring session after school. He ditches Gabrielle for this potential hook-up and seems to have all his sexual dreams about to come true when he’s suddenly waking up in bed. After re-living the same day once again, it becomes apparent that whenever Rob reaches a certain, er, sexual climax, it causes his day to start over.
Like another sex-based comedy gem, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Premature smartly allows its side-characters to be the raunchy ones so that its protagonist is more likable. Rob’s best friend Stanley (Craig Roberts) is given the bulk of the sexual references, and a few questionably racist jokes as well, to allow Rob to be the squeaky clean teenage boy we can maybe actually root for. A notable difference between this film and its comedic inspiration Groundhog Day where Phil Connors is wholly despicable to begin with. And, where Groundhog Day had the perfect combination of days where Phil spends his repeat holiday in both ridiculous and funny ways balancing his emotional growth well with the humor of the situation, Premature doesn’t take advantage of the scenario well at all. Rob catches on rather slowly to his situation and then does some predictably teenage rebellious-type behavior. Another wrong turn is when the plot attempts to explain Rob’s time-loop in a wholly unbelievable and silly addition that Groundhog Day wisely avoided as no explanation could ever be good enough or add anything to the story (and it really doesn’t). Luckily writer-director Dan Beers, along with co-writer Mathew Harawitz, gave Rob sensibility and the charming ending is sweet without overdoing it as Rob realizes how to finally, ahem, finish his day.
Premature provokes laughs but leaves little impression. The stereotypes of the high school of Hollywood are all accounted for and since we’ve watched some version of this since Porky’s, the laughs come from familiarity but boredom prevails.