Four friends grow to adulthood together; after one of them
dies the remaining three decide to embark on a quest to fulfil
a childhood promise. The three remaining city slickers; Dan,
Tom and Jerry, head off into the country to combat bears,
mad locals and their own insecurities in search of D.B.Cooper's
a Paddle is a very confused film. It's difficult, after
watching it, just who the writer and director thought the
target audience were. Initially, its starts as the usual adolescent
fare that we have come to expect of the average, modern, comedy
film, but then turns into part trip of personal discovery
and part pastiche of deliverance - even to the point of having
Burt Reynolds appear in the cast. There are also parts of
a love story thrown in there for good measure, though from
the extras the better part of these ended up on the cutting
room floor. This is all wrapped up with a particular type
of Americana myth - in that the story of D. B. Cooper, whose
treasure they are after, is a real one. He was the only man
who successfully robbed an airline and bailed out, mid-air,
never to be heard from again.
Green, who plays Dan, is very personable in his role though
one wonders if he isn't choosing roles based on the strength
of his comedic appearances in the Austin Powers films. He,
like the others, does what he can with a too slim screenplay.
Matthew Lillard, better known for his appearance in the Scream
film and playing shaggy in the Scooby-Doo live action
movies, is less effective. But to be fair to him most of his
best moments appear to have been cut out to increase the pace
of the film. The most interesting character is played by a
relatively unknown, Dax Shepard, who has been in a number
of films that nobody has heard of, but I think after this
film we will be seeing much more of this actor - he's a funny
of the better comic creations of the film are the redneck
backwoods farmers, Elwood and Dennis played by Ethan Suplee
and Abraham Benrubi. They and their stoner dogs bring a particular
comedy high as the dope growers who chase the boys for much
of the middle and latter, sections of the film; the chase
through the marijuana field is very funny. Sad to say they
provide some relief, too little too late, in an otherwise
chuckle free movie.
disc comes with a generous helping of extras. There is the
usual self congratulatory 'making of' featurette, in which
it is revealed that the film was made with the same crew who
made The Lord of the Rings films, as well as additional
scenes and the theatrical trailer. The funniest extra it the
MTV interstitials which are ostensibly adverts but with extra
pieces tacked on to the beginning - many of which are funnier
than the stuff that made it into the movie. The print is clean,
as you would expect from a modern film, and sound is 5.1,
but this is rarely used to its utmost with the rear speakers
providing little in the way of ambient backdrop.
the film suffers not from poor performances but what appears
to be a poorly conceived script. It's not heart warming enough
for a buddy movie, the romance appears to have been tacked
on and worst of all it just isn't funny enough for a comedy.
What you have is a slightly funny, slightly touching film
which fails to satisfy.
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