The road trip represents more than the physical journey across the land. It is also a metaphysical journey of discovery from which a boy can become a m- …oh, what the hell am I talking about? Josh (Breckin Meyer) has been in love with Tiffany (Rachel Meyer) since they children. College, unfortunately, has placed Josh at Ithaca College and Rachel 1800 miles away at the University of Texas at Austin. The pair try to maintain a long-distance relationship. College is a time of discovery, though, and one morning Josh discovers that after he drunkenly videotapes himself having sex with the adoring Beth (Amy Smart), the tape has been accidentally mailed to Tiffany. Oops!
What are you going to do? Josh, the good kid who made a dumb mistake, rounds up his iconic posse: the party monster, E.L. (Sean W. Scott); the cynical, smart kid, Rubin (Paulo Costanzo); and the naive innocent, Kyle (DJ Qualls), who actually has a car. Leaving behind brain-damaged professional student, Barry (Tom Green) to care for a pet snake, the four set off to intercept the tape. While, yes, hilarity does ensue, the trip does provide opportunities for both our band of heroes and the audience to learn a little something, too (like, how to perform an anally induced ejaculation).
The return to teen flicks has produced an ungodly amount of crap. Director Todd Phillips makes his narrative feature debut after documentaries such as “Hated” and “Frat House”. It’s nice to see that he remembers the basics of the raunchy youth comedy: nudity (check!), sex (check!), inappropriate humor at the expense of others (the blind, old people, white angst, check!), beer, drugs, and, uh, more nudity (all check!). Not every element is too developed, especially a subplot about Kyle’s tyrannical father (Fred Ward). Phillips understands that the important thing is to keep the picture moving and never bogs in any one place. The whole film may play as more a series of funny bits, but at least they’re all funny. I has expected, based on the trailer and his bypass of the actual road trip that MTV funnyman Tom Green would barely be in the movie. Not only does he get a large amount of screen time (he’s the narrator), he’s actually used to best effect.
Now that “Battlefield Earth” has earnestly kicked off “Summer Crapfest 2000”, I’m glad that we can look to the new guys coming up to try to entertain us. Too often lately, big special effects have just gotten in the way of a coherent story or likable characters. Sometimes audiences can get much more out of seeing someone talk than shoot their way out of trouble. John Travolta’s cackling Klingon (excuse me, PSYCHLO) just ain’t got the oomph of Tom Green’s attempts to talk a snake into eating a mouse. All the money in the world won’t make me care about a film, but emotional investment in the story (and the occasional nubile young vixen) can do the trick.