The spirit of ‘80s-era raunchy sex comedies is channeled in married co-directors/screenwriters Joe Syracuse and Lisa Addario’s film bearing no small debt to the likes of Risky Business and After Hours. Based on Syracuse’s real-life experiences working as a driver for Los Angeles prostitutes, Amateur Night strikes further familiar chords with its lead casting of Jason Biggs, playing what could be a slightly older version of his American Pie nebbish.
Biggs stars in the film as Guy Carter, a talented but unemployed architect who is freaking out over the impending birth of his first child. Insecure about whether he’ll make a good father and desperate to land a job with health insurance benefits, he applies for a driving gig found online by his supportive wife Anne (Jenny Mollen). That the job interview with the “dispatcher” is to take place at a Fatburger restaurant doesn’t exactly assuage Guy’s anxiety.
Gives sex comedies a bad name.
It turns out that the job involves ferrying a trio of hookers — Nikki (Janet Montgomery), Fallon (Ashley Tisdale) and Jaxi (Bria Murphy) — to their various work appointments all over the city, including a bondage session with a kinky doctor (Steven Weber, in a role far beneath him) and a raucous bachelor party.
The storyline inevitably provides many opportunities for ribald humor of both the verbal and physical variety. The latter is typified by a painfully unfunny scene in which Guy fulfills one of his job requirements by washing the “hardware,” which in this case refers to a large bag filled with very messy sex toys.
While its storyline may be based on reality, not much of the film rings true, with the situations ramped up to hysterical proportions. For every reasonably witty line of dialogue, such as when Guy’s new employer informs him that “pimps got killed by Craigslist,” there’s a cartoonish gag, such as when Guy, thinking that the doctor is torturing Nikki instead of role-playing, tries to rescue her by spraying him with Mace.
Biggs is appealing in the central role, although for him, conveying mortified embarrassment doesn’t exactly qualify as an acting stretch. But he does have good chemistry with Montgomery, who’s terrific as the hard-edged, savvy hooker who, it turns out, has a good heart after all. Gee, who would have thought?
Production: Punch Media, Defining
Cast: Jason Biggs, Ashley Tisdale, Jenny Mollen, Janet Montgomery, Bria Murphy
Directors-screenwriters: Lisa Addario, Joe Syracuse
Producers: Diego Del Rio Toca, Jorge Garcia Castro, Shana Eddy-Grou, Mary Pat Bentel
Executive producers: Samuel Goldberg, Michael Kessel, Jackie Levine, Meyer Orbach, Tony Parker
Director of photography: Nicole Hirsh Whitaker
Production designer: Scott Enge
Editors: Greg O’Bryant, Jeff Seibenick
Costume designer: Johnny Blue Eyes
Composer: The Newton Brothers
Casting: Rich Mento
Not rated, 93 minutes