When you handle shit with gloves, the saying goes, the gloves get shittier, but the shit doesn’t get any glovier. By the same token, if you take the plot of one of the greatest Hollywood comedies of the past quarter-century and cram it full of crass teen humor, it’s not as if the former somehow magically elevates the latter. The folks who made Premature are apparently quite happy to see it described as Groundhog Day meets American Pie—a blurb to that effect appears in the ads—but anyone who thinks that combination sounds appealing hasn’t considered its implications. Watching Bill Murray go through the same scenario over and over is one thing. Experiencing the same feeble dick jokes over and over is another.
If nothing else, Premature earns chutzpah points for the brazen way it recycles Groundhog Day’s entire premise. Awakening one morning to find his mother staring at his soiled jockey shorts following a wet dream, high school senior Rob (John Karna) heads out for a big day: He has a crucial college interview scheduled, then plans to enjoy his annual geeky ritual of watching the National Spelling Bee with his platonic gal pal Gabrielle (Katie Findlay). The interview is a disaster, however, and Rob winds up ditching Gabrielle when a hot blonde named Angela (Carlson Young) invites him to her house, ostensibly so that he can tutor her in preparation for a big test. In reality, Angela just wants sex, which Rob’s never had… but a few seconds of fumbling results in Rob doing his impression of a certain Lonely Island video, at which point he instantly wakes up to find his mom staring at the huge wet spot on his underwear again. And so it goes, again and again, until Rob finally gets it right.
Written by director Dan Beers with Mathew Harawitz, Premature does have one potentially funny twist on the Groundhog Day concept: Rather than experiencing the entire day each time (falling asleep at some point in the night), Rob reverts to morning every time he ejaculates. While it’s fun to imagine what John Waters might have done with that in the 1970s, Beers and Harawitz run dry (so to speak) very quickly, forcing them to return to their stockpile of mirthless lowbrow gags. A typical scene sees Rob, feeling freed from the consequences of his actions, cold-cock a masculine-looking girl (as retaliation for her bullying him in second grade) and then get repeatedly stomped in the nuts by her, as his obnoxious friend (Craig Roberts) helpfully yells, “Squeeze her titties until milk comes out!” Meanwhile, Rob’s repeated efforts to successfully screw Angela are self-evidently a waste of time, since it’s obvious Gabrielle is his ideal girlfriend and the movie won’t end until he realizes he needs to go watch the Spelling Bee with her. The word is “asinine.” A-S-I-N-I-N-E. “Asinine.”