Road Trip

Directed by Todd Phillips
Starring: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, Paulo Costanzo, DJ Qualls, Tom Green.
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, crude humor, language and drug use.

Review by Matt Heffernan
May 19, 2000

When you give a film a tagline like "It's Good!", you're just setting yourself up for embarrassment. As persuasive as Tom Green may be in the advertisement, Road Trip is not going to get any better.

Josh (Breckin Meyer) and Tiffany (Rachel Blanchard) have been friends forever, and they went out all through high school. Their relationship became long-distance when Josh went to the University of Ithaca (not Ithaca College or Cornell, heaven forbid) and Tiffany went to veterinary school in Austin. Tiffany stops returning his calls after a while, and Josh goes astray. He spends one night (and a morning) with Beth (Amy Smart), who videotaped the events. Earlier, Josh had taped a video letter for Tiffany, and told his roommate Ruben (Paulo Costanzo) to mail it for him. Well, you can guess what happened the next morning.

Josh's friend E.L. (Seann William Scott) agrees to go 1800 miles to Austin with him, along with Ruben and a skinny nerd named Kyle (DJ Qualls), because he has a car. They need to get the tape before Tiffany comes back from her Grandfather's funeral (which explains her recent inability to call). Beth asks Barry (Tom Green), the seven-year veteran of Ithaca, where they went, and he says "Austin, Massachusetts." Assuming he meant Boston, she takes a road trip of her own. Then, of course, the wacky adventure begins.

I'm afraid that Road Trip isn't good; it's not even OK. All films like this -- which were much more popular in the 1980s -- owe everything to Animal House. Coincidentally, this film was also produced by Ivan Reitman, but I can't blame him for its failure. The project was poorly conceived by writer/director Todd Phillips, who shows little aptitude for making comedy. His previous efforts were documentaries (including one film called Screwed, about porn actors, not last week's disaster), and that's the genre he should have stayed in.

Various contrived situations come up that could have been funny in skilled hands, but are fouled up with mundane dialogue and poor timing. The fun-loving spirit necessary to make the film work can only be found in the scenes with Green. The MTV personality has been the chief spokesman for the film, but his few inspired parts can't save it. Throughout the rest of the film, the audience is trapped with four completely uninteresting people.

One thing I found to distract myself was trying to determine if Meyer was related to Noah Wyle from "E.R." He's a bit shorter than Wyle, but their faces are almost identical. After some research, I couldn't find any relation. Anyway, if you find yourself watching Road Trip against your will, just pretend that it's a special episode of "E.R.", and you have to bear with it or be lost next Thursday. Better yet, just stay away.

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Road Trip (2000)

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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan