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Without a Paddle (2004)
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Review Date: August 16, 2004
Director: Steven Brill
Writer: Jay Leggett, Mitch Rouse
Producers: Donald DeLine
Actors:
Seth Green
Matthew Lillard
Dax Shepard
Plot:
Three big-city childhood friends head out into the woods in order to find a treasure to which their fourth (now dead) buddy left a map. But as they paddle their way upstream, things go terribly awry and misadventures ensue as big bears, big hicks with big guns and big chicks with big tits all want a piece of their action. Actually, that last part about the "big chicks with big tits" isn't true. It just sounded good when I was writing it. A mediocre adventure-comedy ensues.
Critique:
Not as horrible as I thought, but still not necessarily worth a trip to the local movie house. I guess that's one of the good things about dumping flicks like this at the end of the long summer season...people's expectations are just so low, that you're bound to get a lot of folks walking out with that same attitude. This film's trailer also made it look like an extremely dumb, slapstick type of movie, and even though it is definitely in that genre, it also offers some decent laughs, fun chases here and there, and most importantly to my own enjoyment, three lead actors/characters that I liked and to whom I could relate somewhat (groovy soundtrack too). I guess you can call this a mix of GOONIES, CITY SLICKERS and DELIVERANCE- at least in terms of plot-but obviously not nearly as good as those films. The bottom line is that if you're looking for some safe, fast-paced, childish humor featuring three guys on the hunt for treasure (i.e. you've got time to kill and don't want to think too hard), this might be a solution of sorts. It does play more like "video fare" though, but if your girlfriend doesn't want to see the harder stuff like COLLATERAL or THE BOURNE SUPREMACY on the big screen, watching three half-naked men dropping poop in paper bags out of a tree and onto the heads of their pursuers, might be the way to go.

Alright, so that's one of the film's goofier scenes...not to worry, it does actually feature some deserved laughs as well, particularly from newcomer Dax Shepard (you might know him from the first season of PUNK'D) and the always-reliable-for-laughs, Seth Green. Matthew Lillard also punches in his card, and even brings a little "message" to the story (not a major one, but you know...the one about "life" being more important than just "money and a job"...that whole shpiel) One of the film's funnier scenes features the three boys attempting to escape the bad guys by running through a burning hash field. Think about that for a sec...a burning hash field! Needless to say, things get a little rasta for everyone. The two dumbass hicks following the guys were also moronic enough to keep things moving at a nice pace, but I could have done without the contrived "earth girls" living in a tree-top...especially since they didn't showcase any T or A (it's PG-13, after all) Another decent scenario had the three boys needing to curl up next to one another on account of the rain and the possibility of death by hypothermia. Somewhat humorous. All in all, nobody's going to win an Oscar for this movie, but it does get the job done in terms of providing some easy-going, immature laughs, three personable leads, sexual innuendo & redneck jokes and an inspired choice in Dax Shepard (gets the most one-liners). Heck, even Burt "I'll work for food" Reynolds' cameo wasn't as embarrassing as I thought it might be. A definite rental, but worth seeing on the big screen if you set your expectations down to nix levels.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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