By Celeste Meiffren
Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, August 26, 2004
"Without a Paddle" opens with a grainy-film home video circa 1970 of four young boys playing Indiana Jones. The song lyrics playing over the images are, "I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger" ("Ooh La La" by The Faces).
If you've seen "Rushmore," you've heard the song. Regardless, the song is basically a summary of how you will feel when you leave the movie. I wish I knew what I know now, when I was 99 minutes younger.
"Paddle" tells the story of four best friends who spent their entire childhood pretending to look for the buried treasure of a real life man. They eventually grow up and grow apart, until tragedy strikes and one friend dies. Then they are forced back into each other's lives and back into a sworn blood oath they had forgotten they made as children. And then somehow, they find themselves actually looking for the same buried treasure they pretended to 20 years ago. This all happens in the first 10 or 15 minutes. This story crunch makes the audience, or at least me, feel completely apathetic.
The three remaining friends, Jerry (Matthew Lillard), Dan (Seth Green) and Tom (Dax Shepard) go on this journey to find buried treasure and rekindle their friendships. Between this, "Pirates of the Caribbean," and the upcoming "National Treasure," I will have had my fill of buried treasure movies. Who's with me?
The casting for this movie was strange. First of all, Dax Shepard? The guy was funny on "Punk'd," but is he really going to start showing up in other places? The world isn't ready for it. And frankly, I don't think it ever will be.
Matthew Lillard hasn't been in a movie for a while, most likely because of a lack of offers. This is the movie he decided to make a comeback with. It's an odd choice, to be sure. But he probably wanted to show that the killer from "Scream" can be silly too!
As for Seth Green, he will never not be Scotty Evil. Ever.
After sitting through a bear scene, a waterfall scene, a marijuana scene, a poop bomb scene and spooning scene, the movie makes a random turn. Burt Reynolds suddenly enters into the picture, as an old mountain man with unkempt hair. The man who played Jack Horner in "Boogie Nights" is reduced to playing a mountain man! This was the first time in the movie that I felt any emotion. And it was sadness.
The only redeeming quality of the film was its soundtrack. There was music ranging from the Rolling Stones to Bubba Sparxx to Blind Melon. I guess people just can't get enough of "No Rain" these days. The soundtrack, however, was not good enough to earn the movie another star.
I don't think I'm being too hard on this film. I only laughed out loud once. And for a movie that "guarantees laughs," I certainly didn't get my money's worth.
I wish I knew then what I know now...