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Road Trip (2000)
Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/15/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/13/2012
As you know, careers come and go in Hollywood. One day your the star and the others in the film are nobodies and then a short time later, the reverse is true. It can be interesting to look back at older movies, even ones which are just a few years old, and wonder whatever happened to the star of the movie, while at the same time marveling at how one of the background players is now famous. Road Trip is a movie which offers a group of actors who were at various stages of their careers then and now.
Road Trip is set at University of Ithaca, and the story is a flashback recounted by Barry (Tom Green), a campus tour guide. Josh (Breckin Meyer) is in a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend, Tiffany (Rachel Blanchard), who attends school in Austin, Texas. He likes to keep in touch by sending her messages recorded on videotape. (Videotape? What is that?) He goes to a party with his buddies E.L. (Seann William Scott) and Rubin (Paulo Costanzo) and finds himself going back to his dorm-room with Beth (Amy Smart), who not only seduces him, but turns on the video camera as she does so. The next morning, Josh realizes that the video is gone, as Rubin put it in the mail to Tiffany, thinking that he was doing Josh a favor. Josh states that he must get to Austin and intercept the tape. E.L. convinces the socially awkward Kyle (DJ Qualls) to go with them so that they can use his car. So, Josh, E.L., Rubin, and Kyle set off on a cross-country journey to get the tape in Austin and get back to Ithaca so that Josh can take his philosophy final. But, they quickly learn that spontaneous trips have consequences.
It's so weird to watch Road Trip today and realize that this was meant as a starring vehicle for Tom Green, although he isn't in the movie all that much. The film was released in 2000 and Green had recently become a hot commodity when his TV show debuted on MTV in 1999, garnering him an immediate following thanks to his brand of weird humor. But, even at the height of his popularity, Green was divisive and his off-kilter performance as Barry doesn't bring that much to the film. Still, it would be interesting to watch this with a younger person who had no clue that the tour guide was meant to be the draw of the movie.
The job of carrying the film falls on the shoulders of Meyer, Scott, Costanzo, and Qualls, and they do fairly well with it. Meyer is good as an everyman and Costanzo adopts the quiet genius persona which he would carry on to the short-lived TV show Joey. The two actors who emerge as the stars of the film as Scott and Qualls. Yes, Scott is essentially playing a version of Stifler from American Pie was able to get into college, but no one plays arrogant and ignorant simultaneously like he does, and he has some funny moments here. Qualls makes his feature film debut here and his frail frame belies an exuberance which comes through in one of the film's most daring segments. (Broadway star Anthony Rapp makes an interesting appearance in the film as well.)
The funny thing about Road Trip is that the biggest celebrity in the film is actually behind the camera. After making two documentaries (one of which was never officially released), Todd Phillips made his feature film debut with Road Trip, before going on to direct some other movies you may have heard of likeOld School and The Hangover. Road Trip isn't as polished and satisfying as those movies, but we can certainly see Phillips planting the seeds of his trademark style here. The movie isn't afraid to be raunchy and shocking, and there are a few scenes which go further than we expect. He also displays his knack for showing that men can be stupid, but still bond together in tough times. And this kicks off a string of Phillips showing up in his own movies as a pervert.
So, Road Trip is an interesting trip down memory lane. Where is Tom Green now? I have no idea. That aside, we have a movie which is very episodic and the humor comes in fits and starts. However, when it is funny, it is very funny as it combines potty humor with some clever dialogue. Yes, the idea of sending a videotape through the mail seems prehistoric to us today, but it serves as a fine catalyst for a thin story which only lives to serve up one bizarre situation after another. If nothing else Road Trip contains the second best usage of Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" in a film, coming behind The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie.
Road Trip shows us the pros and cons of using physics on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is fairly sharp and clear, showing only trace amounts of grain and no defects from the source material. The most notable thing about the transfer is that it's flat looking when compared to more modern films viewed on Blu-ray Disc. This lack of depth doesn't necessarily hurt the viewing experience, but if you watch Blu-ray day in and day out like me, you'll see it immediately. On the plus side, the colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Josh attends the party fairly early in the film, so it doesn't take us long to realize that the music delivers solid subwoofer effects. The stereo effects do a nice job of highlighting sounds off-screen and the party scenes also bring us detailed surround sound.
The Road Trip Blu-ray Disc offers only a few extras. "Ever Been on a Road Trip?" (5 minutes) is a behind-the-scenes video in which Tom Green wanders the set asking the cast the titular question. The Disc contains eight DELETED SCENES which run about 11 minutes. Most of these are brief, but they contain two more Tom Green scenes, a cameo by Jim Gaffigan, and a scene where Breckin Meyer raps. The Disc contains the MUSIC VIDEO for the song "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" by Eels. The extras are rounded out with a TEASER TRAILER and two INTERNATIONAL TRAILERS.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long