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Review: ‘Groundhog Day’ meets ‘American Pie’ in ‘Premature’



Premature, the first feature film from director Dan Beers, is a playful romp that blends the stuck-in-the-same-day curse of Groundhog Day and the sex-driven spirit of American Pie. That heady mix is blended with a dash of coming-of-age to tell the story of Rob, a nice guy who finds himself stuck in a cycle of repetition of the most important and most disastrous day of his life. In true raunchy comedy fashion, Rob’s day is reset each and every time he, shall we say, finishes...which unfortunately and, on several occasions, fortunately for him, seems to happen well, prematurely. If that sounds like a scenario that can only resolve itself and trigger a new start in a few ways, prepare to be surprised when Premature hits select theaters and Video On Demand on July 2.

Craig Roberts and John Karna in 'Premature' an IFC Midnight release.
An IFC Midnight release. Photo Courtesy of: Quantrell / © 2014 MORNINGWOOD PRODUCTIONS, LLC

Rob’s (John Karna) aforementioned big day includes an all-important college interview, his shot with his dream girl (Carlson Young), the malicious presence of brutish jocks and the juggling of his two best friends (Katie Findlay and Craig Roberts) as they near the end of their high school days.

Things go downhill fast for Rob, but he gets plenty of opportunity to try to sway the course of the day––a plot device about which there is nothing even remotely new, but the means by which Rob is booted back in time in this film does make it a singular entry in the canon of “I’m living the same day” movies. It is with an unflinching willingness to roll with this conceit that the film finds the majority of it’s laughs. The team behind Premature recognizes the fact that their protagonist is going to make very different choices than someone older and more mature might, case in point: a high school senior who suddenly discovers he can live without consequences so long as he sends himself back in time probably would at least entertain the thought of squeezing the hot teachers’ breasts, and so the film delights in what could be.

Though the core cast of relative unknowns all deliver their share laughs, Alan Tudyk, who crops up as the man responsible for conducting Rob’s college interview, is a gleeful scene stealer. His varied interactions with Karna are some of the most entertaining moments in the film.

Premature is an easy summer romp that’s palatable for a broad audience even as it maintains its indie strengths and charm.