Without a Paddle (2004)
Director: Steven Brill
Cast: Matthew Price as Young Tom, Andrew Hampton as Young Jerry, Jarred Rumbold as Young Dan, Carl Snell as Young Billy, Antony Starr as Billy Newwood (as Anthony Starr), Dax Shepard as Tom Marshall, Matthew Lillard as Jerry Conlaine, Seth Green as Dan Mott, Nadine Bernecker as Angie, Danielle Cormack as Tony, David Stott as Dick Stark, Bonnie Somerville as Denise, Scott Adsit as Greasy Man, Morgan Reese Fairhead as Sandi, Liddy Holloway as Bonnie Newwood
What sounds like your average, everyday sort of male bonding roadtrip
film is essentially...well, just that, in fact. Three childhood friends
(Seth Green, Matthew Lilard, Dax Sheppard) reunite at a friend's
funeral, and go off on a camping trip downstream to try and find the
lost treasure they always dreamed of finding in their youth in his
honour. They promptly and predictably fall into all sorts of mishaps in
the wild and really give a bad reputation to man's survival ethic.
This kind of comedy is always somewhat stifled when a life lesson is
included: in the case of Without a paddle the message is 'Appreciate
the life you have...you never know how long it will last'.
Unfortunately, we go to a film like this to be entertained, not for
morals, and its inclusion merely deters from the fun.
The three leads are what make the film decently funny: Seth Green is
excellent as he begrudgingly reveals his various phobias from
everything from the dark to ceran wrap. ('I'm afraid it might get stuck
over my head, it's very sticky) Matthew Lilard puts his wide range of
comic facial expressions to good use, and Dax Shepard is always a
source of laughs as the tough-guy slacker of the group.
The comedic material is mostly original stuff, but there's nothing
outstanding to be seen, apart from a few memorable moments. (one finds
Dax Shepard riding his motorcycle into the graveyard at the burial of
his friend, and bellowing out to the funeral attendees 'Where did you
guys park?') The inclusion of Burt Reynolds' crazy mountain man is a
comedic plus, but the nature loving hippy-girls and uncouth drug
traffickers which pop up periodically aren't as funny as they should
be. In fact, such can be said for the entire movie.
The odd laugh will definitely turn up, but there are many better
comedies around, so unless you're simply up for an evening of mostly
forgettable fun, you might want to leave Without a Paddle wallowing in