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Phone ‘Sex’

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In the interview below, I deploy the word “hilarious” several times with reference to imminent teen sex comedy Sex Drive. And you know what? I’m not backing off of it. Now, that doesn’t mean the film isn’t awash in crass and unrepentant juvenility, nor does it preclude the certainty that many of the plot points and character arcs therein will feel remarkably familiar, but it does mean I laughed, heartily and consistently, at what is, for the most part, an infectiously jaunty barrage of cleverly written, well-delivered ribaldry. (An early caught-by-parents scene, for instance, feels like an alt-universe American Pie outtake, but is no less ghoulishly funny for it.)

Oh — and you think you know James Marsden? You don’t know James Marsden.

Anyway: Following is an interview with one of the film’s young protagonists, ’net star and Michael Cera pal Clark Duke, of clarkandmichael.com and Youtube’s “Drunk History 2,” and progenitor of what may be the most gut-busting one-liner I’ve heard so far this year. (Or, at least since Forgetting Sarah Marshall.)

`The movie` ... and by the way, this is a compliment, it kinda feels like a ... far more clever American Pie, kind of.

Yeah. I’ll take that as a compliment. Yeah.

I feel like it’s gonna get thrown in there with, like, Porky’s and American Pie, and Animal House — is that something ... that kinda crossed your mind?

Yeah, I mean I just thought the script was really funny. ... I didn’t overthink it that much `because you never know` what anything’s gonna do, or if the final product’s gonna be any good, but … all I had to go on was the script, which I thought was really funny. ... And it stayed funny, thank God. You know? `laughs`

Through production, you mean.

Yeah. It was still funny at the end, so.

That’s good, yeah. The Trapper Keeper line, by the way ... I haven’t laughed louder at any line this year —

Which line?

The Trapper Keeper line. `details omitted so’s not to spoil the laugh`

That was a little bit of improv.

No way! Oh, that’s great. Well, then, respect man. That was awesome.

Somebody mentioned that last night at the screening. ... They were like, “How do you know what a Trapper Keeper is?” I was like, well, I’m 23 years old, you know. But I guess everybody thinks I’m like 16. ... No, it was great. That was another thing that was really fun about it, compared to doing, like, TV and stuff that’s kind of more rigid, um, the director was so open to just lettin’ us riff. I mean, so ... much of my improv stuff stayed in the movie, so I was really, really flattered and pleased with that.

Well, there’s another … echelon or category of films ... that it belongs to, and it, as far as I can tell, it’s like a triumvirate: It’s like Witness, Kingpin, and Sex Drive

`laughter`

— which is, like, films with a significant plot point that revolves around the Amish, and I —

Yeah.

I was wondering, was there, was there some ... consultation with the Amish community, or were you just kinda like, hopin’ that the Amish people on Rumspringa ... who decided to go see Sex Drive would have a sense of humor?

I don’t know, man. I don’t think there was any consultation — I don’t, I don’t know if there’s any Amish movie consultants, but —

`laugh` Yeah, exactly.

I think what happened is the writers saw a documentary on Rumspringa, and were really intrigued by the concept of it, but I believe — that was in Kingpin too, right? Wasn’t he on Rumspringa in Kingpin?

Oh, possibly, yeah. Yeah. That would make sense. `Editor’s note: Ishmael Boorg (Randy Quaid), like many archetypal heroes, must leave his community to enter a bowling tournament in order to win enough money to save his family’s house.`

... I haven’t seen it in years, but that movie’s fantastic.

It is, it is. ... And by the way ... I think I’d heard of `Rumspringa`; I didn’t know it had a name, though, so, `Sex Drive` educated me in that respect.

Well, that’s what we’re mainly trying to do with the film, is teach people.

`laugh` Yeah.

Trying to raise awareness.

`laughter`

One of the things that made me wanna see `the movie` was, uh, Marsden ... he seemed like, just overjoyed to be playing anything other than, like —

... I was talking to somebody one day, and they described someone, they go, “Oh, that guy’s such a Marsden.” I said, “What’d you just say?” ’Cause this was after I’d shot the thing with Jimmy. And he was like, “Oh, you know, he’s like, the nice guy who never gets the girl in the end.”

Yeah, yeah. ... And it sucks, ’cause, like, the guy — well, it’s nice that he’s gettin’ work, but ... you always see this kind of — and he’s gotten a couple chances, but you see it kinda seething beneath the surface, where `he’s` like, I just don’t want to play the ... fiance, like, once.

... He’s the most fun guy in the world in real life. ... And nobody knows how funny Jimmy is. I mean, I didn’t know when we started. The first day I met him, you know ... I was gonna give him shit as much as anybody about, like, 27 Dresses and stuff. But … he’s an exceptionally funny guy. I really hope he does more comedies after this. I mean `director Sean Anders` has talked about writin’ somethin’ else for me and him, so `maybe` we’ll get to do something again.

That’s fantastic. Yeah, when I saw him in the trailer, I was like, “Oh my gosh, he looks great.”

... I think the key was he just had a lot of fun with it. ... He thoroughly enjoyed doin’ it.

It was hilarious. ... Between Greek and ClarkandMichael, you know, there’s already this segment of the population, you know, among whom you’re very well-known, but in a way, Sex Drive is kinda gonna be ... sort of an introduction, in a way. I mean, is that unfair, or — ?

No, I don’t think so, ’cause, I mean, you know, ClarkandMichael was a very niche show ... being online and stuff, it kind of skews to a younger, smaller crowd. And then, you know, Greek doesn’t get huge ratings or `anything`. I mean, it does well for the network it’s on `ABC Family` ... `aintitcoolnews.com’s Harry Knowles` wrote this really nice review of the movie and he was like ... “At first I was like, ‘Who the hell is Clark Duke? He’s on some show I’ve never heard of.’” You know? And … I’m kind of fine with that, if this is the introduction to people, ’cause I’m ... pretty proud of the character and the movie.

Obviously, you’ve been doing writing and directing with ... ClarkandMichael ... I was just wondering — and it’s … maybe an ill-advised question, but — at this sort of ... precipice of ... or the cusp of being `at` the next step `of` being well-known ... do you have any sort of trajectory that you have in mind, or are you just kinda going with the flow?

Well, I mean, I’m havin’ a really good time with the acting stuff, which kinda, you know, I kinda saw myself doing more of the writing and directing — that’s what I went to school for.

Yeah.

I do have some things that’ll hopefully be announced this year … that I’m gonna be writing and directing, but, yeah ... long-term ... when I’m older, I see myself doing more behind-the-
camera stuff, but right now, this movie shit is pretty fun, y’know? •


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