“They do not like the look of the child, so they beat it.”

A film released in 1999, written and directed by Jeff Abugov that playfully pokes fun of dating rituals in American society. Presented as a nature documentary and narrated by Frasier’s David Hyde Pierce, the film follows Billy and Jenny through courting, dating, sex, breakup, marriage, and childbirth. The narrator constantly gets the description of their actions mixed up, which adds to the comedic effects of the film. When Jenny gives Billy her phone number the narrator states, “ She draws symbols on a smooth piece of tree bark in hopes that he will like them.” This movie is playful and very tongue in cheek, and reminds me of such films as The gods must be crazy and Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail. The film segues into nature films and reenactments of Billy’s sperm trying to impregnate Jenny, and for some reason whenever the two eat dinner their actions are very feral and mockingly primal. Carmen Electra chewing savagely on a piece of fruit is well worth the time of watching the film alone.

“This is not mating.”


The movie begins with a sweeping view of the cosmos as the narrator explains that no other creature in all the universe has such a complex, perverse, and tragically beautiful mating ritual as the earthbound human. We first meet Billy, played by Mackenzie Astin, as he enters a nightclub with some friends. After scanning the bar for what is described as “a suitable mate” he spots Jenny, played by Carmen Electra, on the dance floor. There’s instant chemistry, but when Billy goes to talk to her bumbles his pickup line, and comes off insulting her. The two spend the rest of evening searching, but not finding anyone interesting. Shortly before leaving the bar, they meet near the bathroom, and this time Billy gets it right. They talk and laugh, and after Billy is introduced to Jenny’s friends, one of which is played by Lucy Liu, she gives him her number, which he subsequently loses the next day.

After scouring the entire Los Angeles phone book, Billy finds Jenny’s number and they reconnect. We watch painfully as she paces their sexual progression for the first few dates. Their relationship grows stronger, and the two fall in love. We learn that Billy, like many young males, cannot tell Jenny that he loves her. He doesn’t want to be trapped. As their relationship grows Billy gets advice from his friend, who gives classic guy advice and asks for updates on their sexual progress. When the two finally make love we quickly switch to a scene of a dozen guys in white leotards on a runner’s track. A man off to the side fires a gun and the men, symbolizing sperm, run headlong down the length of the track. Because Billy is wearing a condom they run headlong into a barrier, blocking their path to Jenny’s egg. Jenny’s reaction at work the next day is best described as light and fluffy. As if walking on a cloud, Jenny is happily moving throughout her day. Billy is happy as well, but his interaction with his friend is much more simplistic.

You fucked her?
“Fucked her.”

High five.

The relationship progresses rapidly and we visit the white clad sprinters many times. Eventually they both gets AIDS tests, and after Billy is relieved to learn that his negative outcome is actually good news they leave the condoms behind in place of a diaphragm. The segue with the track runners changes, as the spermacide that Jenny uses is represented by a leather clad man with a machine gun that shoots them all as they approach.

“The sperminator. Kills sperm dead.”

The plot thickens when they take a vacation to a remote location, and Jenny forgets to bring her contraceptive. After scouring the local country store, they decide to risk it. Jenny is impregnated. The track running sperm leap over a high-jump bar and onto the landing pad on the other side which is marked with a large bullseye. The first few fall far left and right, but one lands in the honey spot, and wriggles with glee.

“Now this is mating!”

She informs Billy of this new development, and the two fight as he accuses her of trying to trap him into marriage. The two find themselves getting bad advice from their friends and eventually Jenny elects to go to an abortion clinic to rid herself of the unwanted child. Billy comes to his senses and races to stop her. The two confess their love for each other, Billy proposes, and quickly the two are married. The wedding leads to the delivery room, where the baby is born and the movie ends happily.

Much of the utterly hilarious nature of this movie can be attributed to the narration of Pierce, whose dry delivery and witty remarks show the idiotic state in which we all search for that special someone. None of the actors deliver particularly strong performances, especially Electra's cardboard delivered lines, but that doesn’t seem to effect the comedy of the movie at all. It’s possible that their acting abilities make it more possible to believe you’re watching an interstellar nature documentary and not a standard linear film. This was Canadian-born Jeff Abugov’s first film, having spent some time writing for sitcoms Roseanne, The Golden Girls, and Grace Under Fire. Although a small film in stature, I’m sure its comedic weight will carry it to cult-classic status.

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