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"Watch this," we whispered to a buddy as the trailer for Sex Drive rolled. "In about five seconds, this chick is going to take a totally awesome gainer. Right on her face."

We hadn't had a reason to speak those words since attending a UF frat party back in '85, but the occasion was a momentous one: A brief taste of Orlando comedienne Michele Feren's role in the forthcoming Sex Drive, an indie comedy that's already getting surprisingly strong reviews for its portrait of young horndogs on the road to self-awareness. (And poon.) In the movie, Feren plays an Amish lassie who gets uncharacteristically 'faced during rumspringa, the real-life period of relaxed social rules for adolescents.

"It sounds crazy, but they're given the freedom to try other lifestyles," Feren explains. Hence the aforementioned swan dive into a field — a stunt that, we were somewhat deflated to learn, she did not actually perform herself as part of her two-day shoot in Belle Glade. But as we all know, having a double is the first step to more tangible signs of Hollywood success, like points deals and weekends at Promises. Feren even had an on-set trailer ("which I spilled beans and rice in"). And we're enticed by the way the actress — perhaps best known for her work with the Doodie Humor sketch troupe — describes the character she does get to craft in her five minutes or so of honest-to-goodness screen time:

"Drunk like a sorority girl, except Amish. I have lines, drunken lines in the middle of a heart-to-heart conversation between two of the main characters. I'm just a nuisance really," she says. "I pop in and out screaming each time."

Sex Drive goes wide Oct. 17. (We said "wide." She said "pop in and out." That was cool.)


Opening Friday, Sept. 19

Lakeview Terrace We were totally jazzed by the idea of Mr. Warmth, Neil LaBute, moving on from his customary gender-war focus to tell the story of a California cop (Samuel L. Jackson) who persecutes an interracial couple that has the bad luck of moving into his neighborhood. Then we learned that LaBute was only directing, and that the script had come from a guy who helped William Shatner commit Star Trek V. And you could hear our hopes collapsing like Sherri Shepherd's deck chair. (PG-13)

Ghost Town And to prove that expectations sometimes work in the opposite direction, we have this romantic comedy about a doughy boor (Ricky Gervais) and the fraudulent courtship he's elbowed into after a medical mishap leaves him able to communicate with legions of the needy dead. So it's Ghost meets The Sixth Sense, right? Another low-aiming splice job for the lackadaisical autumn marketplace? Guess again: The initial notices are raves. (PG-13)

My Best Friend's Girl Weeks before its release, My Best Friend's Girl already represented a career high for co-star Dane Cook, who's never been funnier than when he took to MySpace to lambaste the movie's poster, which had apparently failed to meet his exacting standards of semiotic construction and Photoshop wizardry. "My left side looks like Brittany `sic` Spears' vagina," Cook fumed. "My character apparently has fallen in love with a strand of Kate Hudson's hair." (As if we all haven't, from time to time.) Anyway, the movie's about … oh hell, let's just look at that poster again. (R)

Igor CGI does its damndest to ape the textures of stop-motion animation as a beleaguered lab assistant struggles for recognition as a full-fledged mad scientist. The look appears to be straight-up Nightmare Before Christmas, but how close an approximation of the Burton-Selick brand can you expect from the director of the straight-to-video Lilo & Stitch sequel and a writer who cranked out five episodes of American Dad? (PG)

In Search of a Midnight Kiss Critics have been fascinated by filmmaker Alex Holdridge's New Year's Eve dramedy, in which an unsuccessful screenwriter goes on a marathon blind date with a terminally sarcastic young woman. Together, they explore the black-and-white environs of a bleak downtown — to the enchantment of older viewers who don't realize that, for the under-30 set, urban decay and constant snark are synonyms for dating in the first place. Guess that's where fascination comes in. (at Enzian Theater, Maitland; not rated)


Available Tuesday, Sept. 23

The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration The title may better befit some piece of '70s sci-fi (file it on your shelf between The Questor Tapes and Colossus: The Forbin Project), but the alleged purpose of this re-release is to correct transfer inadequacies that had fans using previous versions as Christmas ornaments. All three flicks in the series are available as separate purchases, or in a monster set. Once again, everybody from Carmela Soprano on down wants to know why you can't just buy I and II as a duo pack. Oh, right: Sofia gotta eat!

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