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WITHOUT A PADDLE (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 12, 2009 by  



“Crazy, hilarious and fun.  Leave your seriousness and logic out the door and try to enjoy ‘WITHOUT A PADDLE’ for its outrageous antics.”

Images courtesy of © 2004 by Paramount Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: WITHOUT A PADDLE

DURATION: 98 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English  5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese

RATED: PG-13 (For Drug Content, Sexual Material, Language, Crude Humor and Some Violence)

COMPANY: Paramount Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: May 12, 2009

Directed by Steven Brill

Based on a story by Fred Wolf, Harris Goldberg and Tom Nursall

Screenplay by Jay Leggett and Mitch Rouse

Executive Producer: Andrew Haas, Wendy Japhet and Richard Vane

Produced by Donald De Line

Associate Producer: Lynsey Jones

Music by Christophe Beck

Director of Photography: Jonathan Brown

Edited by Debra Neil-Fisher and Peck Prior

Casting by Sheila Jaffe

Production Design by Perry Andelin Blake

Art Direction by Denise Hudson

Set Design by Meg Everist

Costume Deisgn by Nigla Dickson

Starring:

Seth Green as Dan Mott

Matthew Lillard as Jerry Conlaine

Dax Shepard as Tom Marshall

Abrahama Benrubi as Dennis

Ethan Suplee as Elwood

Ray Baker as Sheriff Briggs

Bart the Bear as the Bear

Nadine Bernecker as Angie

Danielle Cormack as Tony

Burt Reynolds as Del Knox (uncredited)

Three childhood friends go into the Oregon wilderness in search of lost treasure. They take a canoe upriver and everything that can go wrong, does. Hunted by two backwoods farmers, they encounter death-defying rapids, tree-hugging hippie chicks and a crazy old mountain man played by Burt Reynolds.

In 2004, a comedy film starring Seth Green (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Austin Powers”, “Robot Chicken”, etc.), Dax Shephard (“Employee of the Month”, “Baby Mama”, etc.) and Matthew Lillard (“Scooby Doo”, “Wicker Park”, etc.) came out in theaters.

Directed by actor Steven Brill (“Little Nicky”, “Mr. Deeds”, “Drillbit Taylor, etc.) and a screenplay by Jay Leggett and Mitch Rouse, the film wasn’t favored by critics but for those who wanted to be entertained, watch a film for its craziness, crude humor but most of all,  people who just want to laugh, “WITHOUT A PADDLE” is one of those film that will definitely do just that.

The film revolves around three high school buddies who are reunited ten years later after their friend Billy died in Costa Rica from a para-sailing accident.  The film stars:

Jerry (Matthew Lilliard) – A businessman who has a difficult time committing and not sure if he wants to get married and have children, knowing that his girlfriend is growing tired of waiting for him.

Dan (Seth Green) – The geek amongst the friends, Dan becomes a successful doctor with his own practice despite being taken advantage of because he’s weak and never stands up for himself.

Tom (Dax Shepard) – The unemployed friend who lives life doing whatever and is out having fun with the women.  The friend who tends to get in trouble.

After Billy’s funeral, the friends visit the treehouse that they all used to hang out at.  They find a map (to D.B. Cooper’s lost treasure) left by Billy who tried to get the friends together the previous year for a trip but unfortunately everyone was too busy to get together. But the guys decide that because they couldn’t be there for Billy, together they will go on a trip to find the lost treasure.

Note: D.B. Cooper is the infamous man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft back in Nov. 1971 for a $200,000 ransom.  When he received the money, with a few crew members held hostage onboard, he parachuted out of the plane somewhere near Ariel, Washington.  This is the only US aircraft hijacking that has not been solved by the FBI and the whereabouts of D.B. cooper is unknown.

Of course, once they arrive to the area they will be camping, Tom’s way of communicating doesn’t go quite well with the Sheriff Briggs (Ray Baker) but eventually, the guys begin riding their canoe down the river and settle in a camping area.

Unfortunately, the guys forgot to bring the food, so Tom goes out to catch some fish in the river.  Dan bets Tom that he can’t catch a fish for $100,000 (saying it jokingly) but Tom does, but accidentally dropping it.  Immediately, both Jerry and Dan try to warn Tom that a huge bear is right behind them and they all start running.  Dan ends up falling and is told by his friends to go in the fetal position.  Immediately, the bear starts to think that Dan is a cub and carries him to its home.

As Jerry and Tom try to save Dan from the bear, the bear brings him a killed animal to eat and the guys tell Dan to eat it, so it will leave.  Dan tries to eat it and immediately chucks the animal out when the bear isn’t watching and as the bear goes to get more food, they all escape.  Unfortunately, by escaping, the bear goes through all their belongings and the guys are left with nothing.

With no cell phone and no food,the guys hear explosions.  They realize some hillbillies live near the area and are using dynamite to catch their fish.  Fearing for their lives, the guys decide to move up the river.  But with the map damaged, they end up going through the rapids and through a waterfall and end up in the middle of nowhere.

Eventually, they do have a compass and the guys find themselves near a camping area.  As the guys get close to it, they realize it’s the hillbillies home and they have a huge pot farm.  The guys hide in one of the marijuana storage areas but when Tom starts to take some of the marijuana, the hillbillies have their machine guns pointed right at them.

Immediately the guys start to run through the pot farm, setting off flares which land on the pot farm causing fire and destruction of the pot farm.  To make things worse, the smoke is making them high while they are being chased by the hillbillies who want them dead.

Will the three friends make it out a live in the wilderness?  Will they find D.B. Cooper’s treasure?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“WITHOUT A PADDLE” is featured in 1080p High Definition.  Has a really good looking transfer.   Shot outdoors in New Zealand (and not in Oregon of where the film is supposed to take place), the serene backdrops of forest, blue rivers and blue skies definitely is quite pleasing.  Daylight scenes look vibrant in greens and browns while during the night, you can see the detail of the surroundings.   During the night, the blacks are nice and deep.   I didn’t notice any artifacts and scenes that I thought I saw dust, I would rewind and really didn’t see anything.    So, overall, I felt that “WITHOUT A PADDLE” had a really good looking High Definition transfer.

As for the audio, audio is presented in English ala 5.1 Dolby TrueHD (and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital).  The film is primarily dialogue and quite a bit of music.  Dialogue and music come quite clear on the front channels and there are some action sequences such as the canoe/rapids scene and scenes that involve gunfire and fighting that had nice use of directing audio to various speaker channels. You also get a bit of the environmental ambiance from the front channel speakers. So, overall, the lossless audio is clean and appropriate for this comedy film.

Subtitles are featured in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“WITHOUT A PADDLE” features the following:

  • Audio Commentary by Director Steven Brill– Steven Brill pretty much talks about how he was intrigued by the script and what he wants to accomplish in the film.  Definitely a good insight on the filmmaking process for “WITHOUT A PADDLE”.
  • Video Commentary by the Cast and Director – Featuring a picture-in-picture with the cast watching the film and having a fun time discussing the various scenes.
  • MTV’s Making the Movie: Without a Paddle – (18:08) Behind-the scenes of the making of the film with interviews with the cast and Director.
  • Additional Scenes – (24:08) A total of 13 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Director Steven Brill.

• Additional Scenes: Graduation – EXT
• Additional Scenes: Jerry’s Office – EXT & DEL
• Additional Scenes: Jerry/Denise’s House – EXT & DEL
• Additional Scenes: Parking – EXT & ALT
• Additional Scenes: Dr. Mott’s Office – DEL
• Additional Scenes: Long Fight/Tom Leaves – EXT
• Additional Scenes: Billy’s Funeral – ALT
• Additional Scenes: Bar Scene – DEL
• Additional Scenes: Boys Meet Sheriff – EXT
• Additional Scenes: Nose Hair – DEL
• Additional Scenes: Fish Heads – EXT
• Additional Scenes: Fish Heads/Shadow – ALT
• Additional Scenes: Boy Scouts – ALT

  • MTV Interstitials – (2:43) Various commercials shown on MTV.

• Other: MTV Interstitial: Camping Inferno
• Other: MTV Interstitial: Thoughts Vegas
• Other: MTV Interstitial: Slurpee Brain Freeze
• Other: MTV Interstitial: Bear Attack
• Other: MTV Interstitial: Sleeping Bag 2 Girls
• Other: MTV Interstitial: Flashlight

  • THEATRICAL TRAILER – (2:32) The original theatrical trailer in HD.

“WITHOUT A PADDLE” was a film that wasn’t received quite well by critics.

In a way, the film starts off with a bit of seriousness as Jerry deals with his problems with his girlfriend and Dan deals with being a doctor that doesn’t get any respect from people who take his parking space.  But you know that the character of Tom (Dax Shephard) who is going to turn things upside down with his crazy antics.

There is a segment where Jerry and Dan and many people are mourning the death of Billy.  Then comes Tom on his motorcycle making noise and yelling if that coffin is Billy’s corpse.  The guys try to get their obnoxious friend to shut the hell up and join them at the funeral.  And then you see Billy’s girlfriend going on top of the coffin and humping it.

And there is a scene featuring Dan (Seth Green), the geek who loves Star Wars as he holds a C3-PO action figure and starts talking like the Star Wars character or while they are whisking through the forest, pretending his is on the speeder bike.  And for those who follow Seth Green and “Robot Chicken”, can sit and laugh as his love for “Star Wars” is utilized in this film.

And a scene where the men who are wearing nothing but their undies are under cold rain and if they don’t hold each other for warmth, they will succumb to hypothermia.  So, as they all lay down doing their man hug to stay warm while R&B sexy music starts to play, one or two of the guys have an erection and thus they male bonding ends.

These are a few of the jokes to expect throughout the film.  Some really outrageous, some quite dumb but some that are just too crazy that you just have to laugh.  And knowing that Steve Brill who has worked with Adam Sandler in a variety of films, although this is not a Happy Madison Production film, it’s one of those films that you just have to leave your logic and seriousness out the door and just enjoy the film for what it is.

Otherwise, if you are the serious type and expecting a serious storyline about three friends bonding due to their troubles in their real lives, this is not the film for that and you, like many of the critics who pan this film (and many Happy Madison Production type of films) will probably not enjoy it.  This is a film to watch for 98 minutes and just be entertained, laugh for outrageous screenplay.

The Blu-ray High Definition transfer is quite good and overall, if you are looking for a comedy for quick laughs, this is one film that would suit that purpose.

“WITHOUT A PADDLE” is not a stellar film, nor is it a stellar comedy but it’s a film that I found entertaining and just laughed because of its overall craziness.  If you are in the mood to laugh, then give this Blu-ray release a try!






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