The First Time
Time Out says
Let your mind wander during this painfully generic teen-sex dramedy (trust us, it will), and there might be emotions worse than frustration in store. Has the art of character writing become so blah that all it takes is a collection of tics to make an onscreen romance? High-school senior Dave (Dylan O’Brien) has his robotic, Penn Badgley–like stutter down pat, while lonely junior Aubrey (Britt Robertson) can’t seem to stem a stream of cute-girl sarcasm. What ever happened to realistic suburban frustration? Can the John Hughes model of pop-laden despair be such a relic? Does this even qualify as an edgy Sundance film? (Utah is too far to travel for blandness.) Who’s going to watch this movie and feel less alone, less misunderstood?
Okay, the rage is out. Sex is the subject here; and after clasped hands, cuddles and geeky advice sessions from inexperienced dorks, the duo finally gets around to the awkward deed. First, you’ll have to endure a histrionic, emotionally synthetic Victoria Justice monologue (the class lust object has feelings too, wouldn’t you know) and lots of telegraphed male indecision. Writer-director Jonathan Kasdan can’t even bother to satisfy the buildup with a real moment of consummation (welcome to the fade to black) or believable postcoital complications. It would be sweet if actual human beings resolved their gentle misunderstandings with TV-ready gab, but that’s just a lie. Spare any virgins you know from wasting their time, first or otherwise.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf