Retro Review: Road Trip

How will the latest gross out comedy offering fare? Will it be another “Mary” or a return to Porky’s?

Dreamworks’ latest film “Road Trip” focuses upon the life of Ithaca college student Josh (Breckin Meyer of the film “Clueless”) who is heavily involved in a long distance relationship with girlfriend Tiffany, (Rachel Blanchard who plays Cher on the TV series “Clueless”) who attends college in Austin Texas.

One fateful day, Josh hasn’t heard from his girlfriend and dreams of her indiscretions.

Mixed up and disappointed in his childhood sweetheart, Josh bumps into the beautiful and often insecure Beth (Amy Smart of TV’s “Felicity”) while attending a party. Josh gets swept up in Beth and ends up sleeping with her.

During their love affair they videotape each other for the thrill. Accidentally the tape of Josh’s indiscretion is mailed to his childhood sweetheart in Austin. This pits Josh against the clock as he must drive from Ithaca to Austin in three days to rescue his childhood romance.

“Road Trip” tries extremely hard to be a lot like “American Pie”, “There’s Something About Mary”, “Animal House”, and “Porky’s” but what happens is the film never reaches that plateau. A lot of the scenes are so similar to these previous films that the plot and comedic situations look like pale imitations. The film seems to have no real surprises. Each gross-out moment tries too hard to be funnier than the last.

Don’t get me wrong a lot of the scenes are hilarious and will bust your gut but what got me was how predictable the whole film was. What made “Animal House” and “Mary” huge classics in this genre was their ability to deliver gross-out gags from where you would least expect them. The classic “hair gel” in “Mary” or the “popping zit” scene in “Animal House”.

What I liked about the film was the freshness of the cast. Making his feature film debut in “Road Trip” is new-comer DJ Qualls who plays “super-nerd” Kyle Edwards who steals a lot of the more hilarious scenes.

Tom Green does deliver a real over-the-top performance that makes you wish he did go on the actual “Road Trip”. I can imagine all the more mischief achieved if he would have went.

My favorite cast members in the film had to be American Pie’s Seann William Scott, and Amy Smart. Scott has done films like this before and seems to be notching a peg in the “teen-film” scene. He always seems to have the right lines and expressions to make his audience cheer. I expect we will see more of this kind of stuff from him.

What shocked me was in Amy Smart’s portrayal. Sure she played the innocent in this film and she has done it before but in here I saw her in a different light. I think this girl really could prove something to Hollywood if her agent would maybe refocus her career in the indie circuit. Kind of like what Liv Tyler did with her early years. I hope to see her blossom into a leading lady.

(3 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

Written: May 23, 2000

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