THE TOUCHSTONE

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 84 minutes
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Ryan (Christian Gehring), Justin (Bryan Gabriel Lamorena) and Sean (Ty Sheedlo) are like most high school males: virgins with sex on the brain. Ladies aren’t lining up for the trio, however, as they are on the outs with the popular side of class for various reasons; Sean is a nerd who drives his mom’s minivan, Justin is a pervert and Ryan… well, not sure why Ryan is considered an uncool kid other than who he chooses to pal around with. Anyway, after a class trip to Kickapoo Mountain results in Ryan finding a Native American fetish artifact, Ryan’s luck with the ladies begins to change. As the trio soon learns via trial-and-error, the artifact makes the holder irresistible to virgins, and the boys find themselves trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of their newfound desirability.

While The Touchstone seems to set itself up as a raunchy, teenage sex comedy, it doesn’t quite go there. As far as the naughty goes, much like real high school, the film is almost all talk. To that end, coupled with the lo-fi look of the film, it hits a far more authentic note than one would expect from a movie about a Native American fetish artifact that makes the holder irresistible to virgins.

And for the most part, the film is fine. It’s not particularly hilarious, but it doesn’t drag and the comedy, when it does come up short, isn’t horribly groan-worthy. The acting is quality all-around, and while the look of the film is a bit flat, it is in focus and the composition isn’t awful so… again, the film is okay. I know, not a resounding endorsement but, hey, it’s not an invective-filled condemnation either.

Which is actually harder, from the criticism side of things, because I do struggle to find technical fault with the film, yet overall it didn’t resonate all that strongly for me. Unfortunately, the bar set by the R-rated teen comedies of recent years (and to a certain extent the R-rated comedies of the ’80s) is considerably raunchier than what The Touchstone achieves, which is not to say that The Touchstone doesn’t have merit in what it is, it’s just wading into a genre pool where, to stand out, the envelope needs to be pushed more than this film does.

Of course, one could argue that to stand out, you could also head to the other extreme and make a teen sex comedy that is decidedly chaste in its delivery. And I could see that too, but The Touchstone isn’t that film either. It’s stuck in the muddied middle, with a leaning more towards “silly” than the more commonly expected “naughty” or “gross-out” (though there are a few gross-out gags in the flick). Again, the film is fine for what it is, all genre labels be damned, but it doesn’t transcend being just “okay” regardless.

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Posted on August 21, 2012 in Reviews by
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