I was so close to liking the new Lifetime movie Restless Virgins. But ultimately it fell into the dreaded limbo between ridiculous and legitimate. It’s a curse that has befallen many a Lifetime movie before this. Sometimes a movie just doesn’t have the blind-lady stalkers or insane surrogates to qualify it as a guilty pleasure, but it’s just not strong enough to warrant a serious review. It’s just kind of there.
The flaw that keeps Restless Virgins in Lifetime purgatory is that it promises Gossip Girlian scheming and nonstop scandal, but then it’s an hour into the movie and you’re saying to yourself, “When is all this controversy going to start happening?” The movie’s opening credits feature that classic Lifetime phrase, “Inspired by a true story.” And from what I’ve read about the story that inspired it, the Milton Academy sex scandal of 2005, this movie is Lifetime’s Titanic. Meaning it’s about 75 percent fictional romance and 25 percent (that’s a stretch) true story. Except nobody drowns and Billy Zane’s pout doesn’t make an appearance.
The movie begins with protagonist Emily (Vanessa Marano), an editor on the school newspaper, introducing Sutton Academy in a mile-a-minute voiceover that made it very hard to keep straight who all the douchebags were. And there are a lot of them. There’s mainly the lacrosse team: Dylan (Charles Carver), the cocky son of a senator, and his friends Cotton (Jedidiah Goodacre) and Swab Sam (Zach Martin). There’s also Lucas (Max Lloyd-Jones, who is my new crush and possibly the first reason I’ve ever had to watch Switched at Birth), who is non-douchey but risks douche status by hanging out with the douchey douches of the lacrosse team.
The title Restless Virgins is extremely misleading. First of all, it’s not a Jonas Brothers documentary, as I first suspected. Second, it’s not about sexually inexperienced people with restless leg syndrome. But most importantly, as far as we as viewers can tell, there are only two virgins in this movie, Emily and Lucas, who develop a tender romance throughout the story that’s nice and all, but I thought this movie was about a sex tape scandal.
We actually don’t get to the making of the sex tape until more than halfway through the film, after an hour of the following: Emily crying in the bathroom because she wasn’t accepted to Princeton; Lucas getting a Latin phrase tattooed on his thigh to match his teammates’ (You know they go to prep school because they pronounce the Latin “v” correctly); Emily declaring she wants to get drunk and then using the word “effing”; a swimming pool orgy that goes nowhere; awkward almost-sex between Emily and her college date in the back of his van; a Roomba; a bong shaped like a head; a 90-year-old etching of Lucas’ name in his desk; the punchline of a joke about Emily’s mom’s boob job, the beginning of which we never get to hear; and Emily and Lucas feeling overly depressed about a man working in a dunk tank at a carnival.
We finally get to the sex tape, which Lucas almost makes it to the taping of, except his car conveniently breaks down before he can get there, saving him from transitioning completely to the Douche Side. The sex tape ends up being six of the lacrosse players and one girl, and they blur out their faces and pass it on to the juniors as a parting gift. So it’s creepier than it is something to be proud of.
I don’t know why people haven’t learned their lessons about technology’s power to incriminate and embarrass, but the video obviously gets passed around and ends up in Emily’s inbox for the paper. She opens it on her phone during an assembly, keeps it open for far longer than is socially normal, and rashly decides it’s the best decision ever to post it online, even though that’s just gross and the girl in the video is her newfound friend who didn’t know she was being recorded. Smooth move, Emily. Look at that girl now! She’s sobbing in the shower with all her clothes on!
With expulsion looming, mega-douche Dylan decides that poor Nebraska boy Lucas should take the fall and say he was there instead, and in turn Dylan’s dad will pay for his college tuition. Dylan ends up making a similar deal with Emily, and the only virgins in the movie thus become not only restless but also ethicsless.
They soon come to their senses, however. Lucas discovers a copy of the sex tape without the faces blurred when he angrily kicks his roommate’s Roomba across the room…ba. Unfortunately, when the school representative at the hearing goes to watch it “in private” (wink wink), it doesn’t show up. Good thing Emily recorded Dylan’s confession and is now able to dramatically hold her phone in the air like she just don’t care, making for a very “Oh, captain, my captain” moment if only the rest of the movie had been, you know, better.
By the end of the movie, Dylan is expelled and leaves without closing the door, and the only two virgins are virgins no more. And they’re lying in bed together so I guess they’re getting some rest now too.