The Call of the Wild. The Thrill of Adventure. The Mistake of a Lifetime.
"Dax Shepard from MTV's "Punk'd," in his first major big-screen role, steals Without a Paddle. Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle
|Seth Green, Matthew Lillard, and Dax Shepard star in this offbeat comedy as childhood friends whose lives have drifted apart but must reunite following the sudden death of a fourth friend.|
The trio finds out that he was hot on the trail of the $200,000 that vanished with real-life airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper in 1971. After discovering a map left behind, they decide to follow its course to claim the loot. They soon run into a few things that their friend hadn't planned on, including backwoods pot farmers with itchy trigger fingers, beautiful tree-living hippies, and a bear with maternal instincts that know no bounds!
Also starring a hilarious Burt Reynolds, Without a Paddle proves that it's better to be down a river than up a creek.
"A white water ride with laughs! Greg Russell, WB-TV
"Outrageous and zany. Jeffrey Lyons, NBC
"...a genuinely engaging comic adventure. Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"There are some genuinely clever moments of physical comedy, and the inevitable crudeness is offset by winning whimsy. Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly
In Steven Brill's WITHOUT A PADDLE, three friends embark on a hilariously dangerous adventure through the woods of the Pacific Northwest. When their childhood friend Billy dies, 30-year-old buddies Dan (Seth Green), Tom (Dax Shepard), and Jerry (Matthew Lillard) return home to pay their respects. While there, they unearth a map that Billy left behind, which may or may not lead to a hidden treasure. Dan is a germ-phobic doctor who would rather spend his time anywhere but in the wilderness, but the recently dumped Jerry and down-on-his-luck Tom are intent on fulfilling their friend's lifelong dream; and so begins the trio's journey. It isn't long before things begin to spiral out of control. Starting with a gigantic bear that mistakes Dan for one of its own, the guys are also on the run from two pot-growing maniacs (Ethan Suplee, Abraham Benrubi) who are looking for revenge after their marijuana farm is burned to a crisp. Of course, what would a wilderness expedition be without raging rapids, a towering waterfall, beautiful (but hairy) hippy chicks, and an encounter with a menacing mountain man (Burt Reynolds). Brill's madcap adventure gleefully references DELIVERANCE and 1980s pop culture, and features spot-on performances from Green, Lillard, and Shepard.
Cast & Crew
"There are some genuinely clever moments of physical comedy..."
"[W]hen in full swing it's bracing fun....One for the guilty pleasure file."
Variety 6 of 10
Not entirely the "National Lampoon's Outward Bound" exercise suggested by its trailer, "Without a Paddle" is instead an unstable -- if mostly painless -- mix of low comedy, stabs at higher silliness, and schmaltz. Latter is the same computer-spat sentimentality director Steven Brill previously sandwiched into his chucklesome oeuvre of Adam Sandler vehicles and "The Mighty Ducks" chapters...Home movies of four friends from childhood to high school graduation are shown under the opening credits. Great things are expected of them all, but, 10 years later, that prediction has not panned out. Petite, perennially picked-on Dan (Seth Green) is a doctor, but still dateless and a fraidy cat. Genial Jerry (Matthew Lillard) is so hooked on surfing that he pays dangerously little attention to both a corporate job and live-in girlfriend (Bonnie Somerville). Tactless loudmouth Tom (Dax Shepard) claims he's happily selling Harleys for a living, but has high gambling debts and low self-esteem...A few iffy f/x aside, feature is technically smooth and goes down easily enough but without making much of an impression. Chief flaw is that neither script nor direction find a consistent tone to unite funny references to other movies, coarse jokes, the occasional inspired ones (the wet, naked & gay-panicked trio's having to sleep huddled together for warmth is nicely milked), slapstick action sequences, and earnest emotional displays that beg for some saving layer of irony...Three leads each have their moments, though they would've had more with sparkier material. Reynolds can be a very funny character comedian on demand, so it's too bad he's asked to pretty much play it straight here...Original score by Christophe Beck is blah, but music supervisor Julianne Jordan makes good use of some oldies as well as new tunes.
- Dennis Harvey
ReelViews 5 of 10
Want to know why Paramount Pictures is struggling? Watch Without a Paddle and you'll gain some insight. At least the film understands what it is, as is indicated by the steaming pile of excrement that appears 2/3 of the way through the proceedings. By then, we don't really need the clue, but it's appreciated. About the only way to make things worse would have been to add Tom Green to the cast...The only thing more ineffective than the desperately unfunny stabs at comedy are the lame "serious" scenes. For some inexplicable reason, director Brill decided that instead of making this a balls-to-the-walls, complete gross-out comedy, he was going to make Without a Paddle a message movie. The message is supposed to be something about living life to the fullest. But really it's about avoiding spending hard-earned money on this turkey. There's a line about how it's possible to re-earn lost money, but lost time is irrecoverable. Anyone considering seeing Without a Paddle should remember that...I thought it was going to be tough figuring out which of the performers does the least cringe-inducing work, until I considered the acting of veteran thespian Bart the Bear. Bart, who is Hollywood's go-to guy when a bear is needed, does a more credible job than any of his human co-stars, which is a damning indictment, to say the least. As for Burt Reynolds' small role - the fact that the one-time A-List celebrity has stooped to appearing in Without a Paddle shows how far his star has fallen...Without a Paddle is so bad that it will annoy and/or bore those who have minimal standards and a high tolerance for sewage. This is such an affront to good cinematic taste that those involved should find themselves unable to work in Hollywood for a long time.
- James Berardinelli