Who doesn’t love a road trip comedy? What better way to mix things up a little than to swap the road with a lake? That’s exactly what happens in Steven Brill‘s 2004 comedy Without a Paddle. Steven Brill has brought us many mediocre comedies in the past including Drillbit Taylor, Mr Deeds and Little Nicky. Without a Paddle follows the theme of mediocrity but to all intents and purposes is a laugh out loud, entertaining comedy romp.
Three guys embark on a mission to hunt down the lost D.B Cooper treasure and fulfil their childhood dream after the death of their friend. Things don’t go as smoothly as planned though and the journey is a dangerous but life changing one.
With a great comedy cast including Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and Dax Shepard the film boasts laugh out loud calamity and a witty script. The three actors gel really well together as a group of childhood friends with brilliant banter, the casting of the film is pretty good although the effects are underwhelming, no one stands out as particularly great at their role apart from perhaps the grizzly bear who appears several times throughout the film to cause yet more chaos for the trio.
Without a Paddle bears a lot of similarities to City Slickers (1991) but is more brash and crude, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s nothing new but then again, what is? We have seen it before but it’s funny, charming and well-done enough to stand out from the rest and justify the revisiting of a popular premise. It’s highly conventional and totally predictable which makes it a great one to watch for a bit of entertainment, but is perhaps best avoided by those critic types who act like they expect to reach enlightenment with every film they watch. Those with a sense of humour though, please go ahead and watch this film if you haven’t already.
With not so subtle hints at homosexuality that appear to poke fun at the idea of homoeroticism, with two hippy-type women who’s strange relationship includes dancing naked in a thunderstorm, and the three guys huddling up for warmth in just their underwear. This may be offensive to some of the more sensitive types out there and is perhaps one of the reasons the film wasn’t particularly well received on its release in 2004 but don’t let that put you off.
Without a Paddle is great fun, it’s conventional, well cast and laugh out loud funny, which is the perfect combination for a night in front of the TV.