Retro Review: Without a Paddle

As it looks on paper, “Without a Paddle” is just another one of those gross-out comedies. You may also may clarify it as just another teen comedy. Well I beg to differ.

In “Without a Paddle”, Dan (Seth Green), Jerry (Matthew Lillard) and Tom (Dax Shepherd), reunite after the passing of their childhood friend, Billy. Each has their own problems in life and each is looking for a way to change their outlook. As the friends begin reconnecting and reminiscing about the old days, they realize that one of Billy’s goals in life was never fulfilled. Billy had a dream of uncovering infamous thief D.B. Cooper’s legendary treasure.

As they go through some of Billy’s old stuff they realize that Billy had been trying to pinpoint the location of the loot all his life. So in honor of Billy, the trio decides to embark on Billy’s planned out camping trip that may or may not uncover the secret of D.B. Cooper’s treasure.

As the friends make their way through the wilderness, they will encounter a relentless bear, two crazed hillbillies, two naturalist girls and a crazed mountain man (Burt Reynolds). Will they uncover the loot? Well first they have to answer the call of the wild.

“Without a Paddle” is a lot smarter and fun then a lot of the gross-out comedies to come down the turnpike in a while. The film feels a little like “City Slickers” but probably closer to the classic 80s comedy “Up the Creek”.

I really enjoyed the moments when these guys seem to act very natural and out of place in their environment. It seemed to come so easy to these guys and in that respect it reminded me some of “City Slickers”.

The zany stunts and crazed mountain citizens reminded me a lot of “Up the Creek”.
Probably one of the more clever moments is when the boys eventually meet a very grizzled Burt Reynolds. I really enjoyed the whole situation, the goofy cabin jokes and the contrast between this guy and the boys.

I loved a lot of the jokes and felt that it was better than I thought. The gross-out comedy genre has taken on a mean streak and it just gets duller with age. “Without a Paddle” is a return to what these teen comedies were before the explosion of “American Pie”.

“Without a Paddle” is quirky, zany and has an old-fashioned 80s comedy feel.

(3.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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