A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
The people who made "The First Time" must have been born at the age of 40, about 30 years ago. This is a movie about three teenage kids and how one of them makes love for the first time -- and not a single second of the movie, not one, is an accurate portrait of young men at that age.
I gather the kids are around 16 or 17 years old. Yet they have the personalities of 13-year-olds, the emotions of 9-year-olds, the naivete of 6-year-olds, the mannerisms of child stars and the vocabularies of teenagers circa 1916. Booth Tarkington surpassed this movie in daring and psychological depth when he wrote "Penrod" 50 years ago.
The most serious fault of "The First Time" is in its dialog. Speech after speech falls flat because the writer, director, and apparently even the actors, have no idea how teenagers talk and what they talk about. One of the young characters, describing something he approves of, says it's "snazzy." Maybe Bing Crosby would have called something snazzy on an old Paul Whiteman radio program. But in 1969, wouldn't the character say "heavy"?
Maybe not. These three teenagers are the stupidest people of their age and society I've ever seen in a movie. They are equalled only by the character played by Jacqueline Bisset. The four of them meet in Niagara Falls, Canada (where the kids have gone in the futile hope of finding a house of prostitution). Miss Bisset asks their help in getting across the border into the United States. Whole busloads of tourists are waved across the border every day, but she needs help.