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Puddle Cruiser
DVD disk
12.06.2005 By: Jason Adams
Puddle Cruiser order
Director:
Jay Chandrasekhar

Actors:
Steve Lemme
Jay Chandrasekhar
Kayren Butler

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Four words: Broken Lizard does college. Felix enters into an “open” relationship with Suzanne, ultimately joining the rugby team to impress her. Along the way, we encounter artsy feminists, dumb frat jocks, stoner RAs, and, of course, a veritable bevy of shenanigans.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I’ll admit I was initially a teensy bit disappointed with PUDDLE CRUISER. I thought Broken Lizard’s last two flicks, SUPER TROOPERS and CLUB DREAD, were brilliantly hilarious, so I’ve been waiting with baited breath to see their first cinematic offering. This 1996 film is a different kind of movie, however; a calmly paced comedy that takes its time with its characters and relationships, which is not necessarily a bad thing. (Just not quite as funny—more chuckles and smiles than outright belly laughs.)

Surprisingly, the entire time I was watching PUDDLE CRUISER, all I could think about was It’s CLERKS at college! There were the requisite scenes of snappily written, rehearsed-sounding dialogue filled with observations about life (even a frank discussion about movies and sequels), memorable yet random character sketches, and a loose plot tying it all together. Unfortunately, it also has that cheap, “student film” feel to it, and all the baggage that comes with it. (Granted, it was made on a tiny budget.) All the Lizard boys seem to have a natural sense when it comes to comedic acting, especially Steve Lemme in the lead role, but just about every other performance seems unnatural and stilted, especially lead actress Kayren Butler. Her “angry” scenes were laughable, and not in the good way. Jay Chandrasekhar has grown into a solid comedic director, with promising turns in the BL movies and episodes of Arrested Development, and you can see the beginnings of that talent in PUDDLE CRUISER (I loved the shots in Freaky Reaky’s mailbox), although I suspect the film could’ve used another quick round of editing and tightening up.

This is a decent debut film from a young, up-and-coming group; very funny and clever in parts, but suffering from some slow stretches, especially in the beginning. Just don’t expect something like the unending laugh attack that is SUPER TROOPERS and you’ll be fine.

(I’m sure he hears this all the time, but no matter what role Kevin Heffernan chooses, he will always be Farva to me.)
THE EXTRAS
After waiting years for PUDDLE CRUISER to get a release on DVD, Broken Lizard fans will be disappointed to see it get such a lackluster treatment, save for some entertaining commentaries and a brief featurette .

Commentary by Jay Chandrasekhar and Kevin Heffernan: Car Ramrod reunited again! As you can imagine, both guys are very funny throughout and point out a lot of interesting tidbits about shooting at their old college, putting all their friends in the movie and how a lot of the crazy tomfoolery is based on actual events.

Commentary by Steve Lemme, Erik Stolhanske and Paul Soter: Like the other track, mucho hilarious for all the same reasons, although some of the information is repeated. I wish they had gotten the entire entire troupe together on one track. It feels weird when they’re split up.

Rodeo Clowns (17:39): This documentary follows Broken Lizard as they travel “like a rock and roll band” across the country, trying to gain support for the film (something they did again years later for SUPER TROOPERS). It’s pretty funny seeing the guys, who are now universally worshipped on college campuses, handing out flyers and physically chasing down students to get them to watch the movie (and being embarrassingly rejected a lot of the time). You also get a good idea of what the guys are like behind-the-scenes (i.e. still funny), and you gain an appreciation for how hard they worked to make it.

We also get Trailers for SUPER TROOPERS and CLUB DREAD, naturally.

At the beginning of the “Rodeo Clowns” featurette there’s a disclaimer that says it’s an “excerpt” from a longer documentary. Why not just include the entire thing on this DVD? It could really use some more special features.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you’re a fan of Broken Lizard’s other movies and/or a college student, PUDDLE CRUISER is at least worth a rental. Otherwise, check it out at your own discretion.
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