Boys and Girls

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The ads for “Boys and Girls” make it look like another raunchy teen sex comedy, leading people to wonder how it could possibly have escaped with a PG-13 rating.

Well, here’s how: It’s not a raunchy teen sex comedy. It’s not raunchy, it’s not about teens (they’re college students), there’s no sex, and — this is the important one — there’s positively no comedy whatsoever. The commercials and theater trailers (which feature the tagline “Sex Changes Everything”) are appallingly misleading — outright lies, in fact, and infuriating ones.

But even if we disregard the film’s dishonesty in trying to lure people in to see it, and judge it as if we had no preconceived notions, it’s still a bland, lifeless, meandering horror. Freddie Prinze Jr., who cannot act and should stop trying, plays uptight Berkeley student Ryan. Over the course of his college career, he keeps running into Jennifer (Claire Forlani), who is much more carefree and spontaneous. They are clearly in love, but refuse to admit it, remaining friends instead, until one night when they accidentally have sex, which does change everything, though it doesn’t make the movie any more interesting.

They have quasi-philosophical conversations, standing around saying absolutely nothing for 90 minutes, talking about relationships and men and women and blah blah blah, like a hellish mix between “Seinfeld” and “Waiting for Godot.” The movie hardly even tries to be funny, and when it does, it doesn’t work, coming across as vanilla-plain boring. There are long, awkward stretches of silence when the audience just sits and stares in disbelief that this is really happening. (“Do they realize the cameras are rolling?” is what I kept asking myself.) Even though Ryan and Jennifer have “opposite” personalities, Prinze and Forlani manage to still give them both no personalities whatsoever, he with his cement-slab face and post-pubescent squeak, she with her near-whine monotone. This is the movie that plays constantly in Rain Man’s head.

Have I said enough? No. The characters are ill-defined (Ryan is a nerd at first, then mysteriously changes). Ryan’s roommate, Hunter (Jason Biggs, last seen violating the title character in “American Pie”), is a pathological liar who eventually comes clean in a character arc that is completely out of left field.

It is Biggs, though, who provides the film’s only two laughs, including one in which he convinces a girl at a bar that he used to be a monk up until that very day (“I turned in my robe and rosary beads, got my deposit back, and left”).

You read that right. Two laughs. In the entire film. What a devastatingly, punishingly bad film, a dishonest crap-fest so devoid of insight, humor, characterization or plot that it hardly even earns the right to be called a movie.

F (; PG-13, scattered profanity, some sexual discussion,.)

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