Written by Jay Leggett & Mitch Rouse
Directed by Steven Brill
Running Time: 1:37
for drug content, sexual material,
language, crude humor and some violence.
Without a Paddle was an entertaining if somewhat predictable comedy.
Boyhood friends Dan (Seth Green), Jerry (Matthew Lillard) and Tom (Dax Shepard) all reunite at the funeral of their best friend Billy. When they were kids, they had this dream of finding the body of the legendary DB Cooper, and the $200,000 that goes along with him. When they go back to their childhood treehouse and find that Billy had mapped the exact location of where he believes Cooper landed, the guys decide that in tribute to their dearly departed friend, they will continue the hunt. Along the way they run afoul of a couple of hillbillies who run a pot farm, and a few other nuts.
I have to say, I did laugh a lot during Without a Paddle. It wasn't anything new or special as far as buddy comedies go, but there were a lot of scenes where you couldn't help but laugh. The funniest scene however, is one that they completely give away in the commercials for the film and that annoys me. The scene is of course the one where they're all in their underwear and need to huddle up to keep warm. It's not so much the actions that are funny, but the music that goes along with it. The entire theater was in tears when R. Kelly's "Bump and Grind" came up. Now, I saw the movie before the commercials came out, so I didn't know it was coming, but people who go see the movie from here on out will know what's about to happen, and it won't be nearly as funny. There were other funny scenes however, and I think that'll keep people happy. Like I said before, the humor isn't anything new; just variations on toilet humor, including one scene that involve actual toilet items. But the entire movie is very lighthearted and it moves along at a good pace.
The key to a good buddy comedy is having the buddies actually seem like good friends. Seth Green, Dax Shepard and Matthew Lillard at times looked like it was impossible for them to be friends, since they all had differing opinions on where they should be in life. Even when they showed 'flashbacks' to when they were children, Green's character always looked out of place; more like someone you'd pick on than be friends with. And all grown up, Shepard and Lillard towered over the diminutive Green so I never really felt like they were best friends. I could see Tom and Jerry being friends (even if their names weren't the same as the famous cat and mouse team), but Dan never fit in.
The supporting cast members all had their own strange quirks. Ethan Suplee and Abraham Benrubi played a couple of large hillbillies who enjoyed throwing dynamite into the river to catch fish, and grow massive amounts of pot. Rachel Blanchard and Christina Moore played two tree hugging hippies who wanted to live in a tree so that a logging company wouldn't chop it down. I did wonder however, how Blanchard's character was 'all natural' and didn't shave her legs, yet she didn't have any other body hair. Lastly of course is the legend that is Burt Reynolds, who played a friend of DB Cooper. It seems he has been in the mountains since DB's disappearance, at first searching for his long lost friend, but now just loving the life he has. There wasn't a lot to his character though, beyond just being a hairy guy who lived in the mountains. Eating squirrel meat isn't that shocking an idea, considering where he lives.
It's a funny thing to say about a simple buddy comedy, but I liked the scenery in the film. The entire movie takes place outdoors, and the scenes shot on the water were actually quite beautiful to look at. The scenes where the guys would be rafting and going through rapids were fairly well done, even if at times it was very clear that stunt people were being used. But the mix of stunt people and the actors was done well enough I didn't mind. The music was pretty good as well, especially when they popped in an old 80s tape. There's nothing like going back to 80s music for a good laugh.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I enjoyed Without a Paddle. It's not going to be breaking any new ground in the world of comedy, but for a good laugh, it's worth a shot.