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DreamWorks presents
Road Trip (2000)

"Think about Josh, you're in college. The window of opportunity to drink, do drugs, and take advantage of girls is getting smaller by the day."
- E.L. (Seann William Scott)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: December 11, 2000

Stars: Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scot, D.J. Qualls, Paulo Costanzo
Other Stars: Amy Smart, Rachel Blanchard, Fred Ward, Tom Green
Director: Todd Phillips

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong sexual content, crude humor, language and drug use)
Run Time: 01h:34m:06s
Release Date: December 19, 2000
UPC: 667068711127
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B-B+B- B-

DVD Review

I can still remember it to this day. The closeness of the back seat; the constant pit stops from what seemed like an endless supply of beverages; the sense of amazement of being lost but not caring. I am talking, of course, about the greatest college tradition ever invented: the road trip. It only makes sense that, in the latest resurgence of gross-out teen comedies, along comes a film that focuses on the tradition...oh yeah, and provides a few laughs along the way.

About a week ago I wrote that I was about ten years too old to appreciate the humor in Big Momma's House. Well, with Road Trip I am at the right age to not only appreciate the humor, but also the situations.

Josh (Meyer) is a student at the University of Ithaca, and between classes he is suffering through a romantic crisis. His girlfriend of nearly fifteen years ("we have been together since we were 5," he says), Tiffany (Blanchard), has stopped returning his phone calls, causing Josh to think that she is cheating on him. All would be well if Tiffany were not nearly 1800 miles away at the (fictional) University of Austin. Thinking that his girlfriend is unfaithful, Josh falls for Beth (Smart) and with the camcorder running they go to bed together. When Josh's roommate Rubin (Costanzo) mistakenly sends the tape to Tiffany the next day, complications arise. Shortly after the tape is sent, Tiffany calls and explains that she has been out of town because her grandfather died. So with little more than 72 hours to go, Josh must get the tape and his girlfriend back with the help of three friends (Scott, Qualls, Costanzo) who join him on the trip. MTV's Tom Green, in his first film role, narrates the story to a tour group at Ithaca.

I will be a bit outspoken and say that I think that Road Trip is the funniest teen movie to have come out in the past few years. While most champion the sweet and raunchy sides of last summer's American Pie, Road Trip does what a film for teens and college students should do: create laughs. That is not to say that it is less raunchy than most comedies to have come out recently—from a trip to the sperm bank, french toast flavored in new and interesting ways, and a bus stolen from a school for the blind, this movie isn't exactly tame.

Director Todd Phillips does a good job with the pacing of the trip, never letting a scene get bogged down or letting the laughter stop. It is a very competent directorial effort from Phillips, making his first feature film after two documentaries. The only downside to the screenplay is that the arcs of the characters aren't nearly as well defined as they should be.

The acting by a group of recognizable and unrecognizable faces is better than most teen films. Meyer plays Josh well, but at some points in the film, he is upstaged by his counterparts. Mainly American Pie's Seann William Scott, and newcomer Paulo Costanzo as the scene stealing E.L. and Rubin, respectively. The real find of the group is D.J. Qualls as Kyle, the stereotypical nerd who has a life-changing moment or two along the way. The equally beautiful Amy Smart and Rachel Blanchard are the lone female voices in the movie, and they each do commendable work. Cameos by Andy Dick and Tom Green are also high points. I came into this movie not liking Green's sense of humor, but I walked out with new respect for him. With a little work he could be the John Belushi of his generation.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement, this is a very good transfer from Dreamworks. While I noticed a bit of grain in the darker scenes, the colors and black levels are for the most part fine. Sharpness and detail are above average, and pixelation is nonexistent. Edge enhancement is a bit of a problem in some of the outdoor scenes, but it isn't present enough to worry about. Overall this is a fine transfer from Steven and the gang at Dreamworks.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: In what is becoming a routine feature from Dreamworks, Road Trip offers both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks. I saw Road Trip three times theatrically with three different sound formats and I can honestly say that it never sounded as good as it does in my house. Surrounds are a bit active in some scenes, a rare accomplishment for a comedy, and the .1 LFE channel compliments the rock and rap soundtrack. Dialogue is clear and the front speakers create a nice front soundstage. The difference between the Dolby and DTS tracks are nearly nonexistent, so whatever mix you choose it will do the job. An English Dolby Surround mix is also available.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
7 Deleted Scenes
Production Notes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Eels music video
Extras Review: While not labeled as a special edition, Road Trip offers some nice extra features. Most important is that two minutes of extra material have been added to the unrated version. Essentially, it is extra nudity. But hey, who is complaining, right?

As for the real extras, there is a selection of deleted scenes. These seven cuts are extra scenes and not the normal scene extensions. After viewing them it is easy to tell why they got cut, but they are still worth a look as a few had me laughing heartily. The Ever Been on a Road Trip? featurette is a nice way to spend ten minutes, and it is better than most extended trailers that pass as "featurettes".

Cast and crew bios, the original trailer, and a music video for the Eels' Mr. E's Beautiful Blues are also offered. The video is of particular note considering that it not only is a great song, but also features the actors in it as well.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Road Trip is a very funny movie if it fits your tastes. It fit mine just fine, and I am glad to have it in my collection. It lacks the brilliance of Animal House or Fast Times at Ridgemont High but it still works as a college comedy. It isn't the best movie of the year, truth be told it isn't even the best comedy (that would be High Fidelity or Meet The Parents), but it is still worth a look. Recommended.


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