Judge Geoffrey Miller ain't got nothin' but love, babe...
"Erica…it sounds so much like…erotica. And it's fitting—she's a walking wet dream, the kind of girl whose mere glance at you could get your pecker to stand up and say, 'Howdy!' And not your normal run-of-the-mill erection, we're talking about the kind that can be picked up on radar, the kind you could hang a flag from."—Peter
If Eight Days A Week had come out two years later (or ten years earlier), it might not have fallen into obscurity. As a slightly raunchy teenage coming-of-age story from 1997, it predates the resurgence of the genre that started around 1999 (when American Pie became a surprise hit), but came well after its 80s heyday. The film pays homage to John Hughes, while updating the style with touches of pop culture-referencing dialogue in the vein of Kevin Smith.
Facts of the Case
It's the summer before college, and Peter (Joshua Schaefer) is in love with his neighbor (and childhood friend) Erica (a pre-Felicity Keri Russell). Problem is, she thinks of him as "just a friend." Inspired by a story his grandfather (Buck Kartalian, doing a sort of Italian Mel Brooks) tells him, he decides that the best way to win Erica's heart (and bed) is to sit outside her house for the whole summer. Along the way, he battles with his disapproving parents, gets help from his onanistic friend Matt (R.D. Rob), and learns a little more about life.
When it comes to pursuing love, there's a fine line between persistence and stalking. Peter, the congenial but hopelessly nerdy protagonist of Eight Days A Week, may be crossing that line when he decides to camp out in front of the house of his neighbor Erica, who he has loved since childhood. His father disapproves (locking Peter out of the house and doing everything to stop him), and his best friend thinks he's crazy. (Erica's born-again fundie parents, oddly enough, are fairly blasé towards the whole affair.) Erica thinks it's cute, but is far more interested in her tough, jock boyfriend.
It takes a while, but eventually Peter starts to make some in-roads. Erica starts to talk to Peter from her balcony at night, instead of sneaking out to see her boyfriend. They fall for each other through discussions of pop culture minutia (as was the style at the time). From favorite Bonds through favorite Beatles, they cover most of the pressing issues of our times. So it continues, as Peter tries to squirm his way out of the "friend zone" and into Erica's heart.
While Peter is "a nice guy," he also has one filthy mind. He's almost impossibly horny, spending most of his time outside Erica's yard either reading or thinking about sex; he studies The Joy of Sex and diligently practices his cunnilingus moves. It is a little tough to swallow that he hasn't landed a girl yet, though. Joshua Schaefer is one of those actors who could probably ditch the glasses and instantly transform himself into non-geek leading man material, but it's not an option that ever figures into the equation, even for a moment.
As Erica, the object of Peter's affections, Keri Russell is the perfect choice—a combination of stunning looks and girl-next-door personality. She's always game to play up her sexuality in teasingly innocent ways: She frolics under a sprinkler in naught but a bikini in the opening scene and suntans on a hot afternoon, seemingly unaware that Peter is mere feet away describing the beauty of her breasts to Matt. There's a playfulness to Russell here that she's rarely shown elsewhere, and it's a surprising treat to see.
If Eight Days A Week has a failing, it's that it isn't quite able to sustain its premise past the introduction. Like Peter, we're excited about this strange experiment in love at first, but the reality of the monotony soon sets in. It's a pleasure to take in Peter's consistently hilarious and witty narration and the slow-burn sparks between him and Erica that start to ignite around half-way through. The other parts—from Matt's pathetic masturbation addiction to all of the side plots featuring eccentric neighbors—just leave you yearning for more Peter and Erica.
Still, any shortcomings are redeemed through the simple virtue of the movie nailing exactly what it's like to be a sexually frustrated teenager. Plenty of us have been there—I know I was!—and it's tough to resist identifying with Peter's persistence, however crazed and obsessive it may be. You'll sit through some of the more boring scenes just because you're rooting for him.
The disc contains naught but the movie and a theatrical trailer, but it is fairly nice transfer. The video is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic, and audio is Digital Dolby 2.0 stereo.
The lesson Peter learns in the end of Eight Days A Week—in a nutshell, that sex is the most important thing in life—isn't exactly a profound (or even good) one. It does seem to be the right conclusion, however, for a horny teenager. Eight Days A Week is all about that misguided impulsiveness of youth, and that's what makes it fun even when it drags or falls into implausibility. It's first and foremost a movie best described as "cute," which is to say that it won't change your world, but you certainly wouldn't regret spending 90 minutes with it.
Not guilty…but just like the pie thing, you're better off not trying this out in real life.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Theatrical Trailer
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