Teen comedies hit a new low in "Without a Paddle." No, it's not filled with degrading toilet humor (there's some, but it's a pretty mild PG-13), nor does it feature a bunch of sleazy characters. Instead, "Without a Paddle" tries to have heart, and that's where it fails miserably.
Matthew Lillard, Seth Green and Dax Shepard star as three grown men who set out to discover a treasure in the back woods of Oregon. After their canoe is destroyed, however, they stumble across a couple of ruthless pot farmers, find refuge with some beautiful but hairy hippies and discover a hermit who looks a lot like Burt Reynolds. Unlike most teen comedies, "Without a Paddle" has very little to do with attaining the other sex, but unfortunately, it doesn't quite work. The plot is something out of a children's book, only with some gun-toting bad guys thrown in for "excitement." The adventure is piss-poor, and, more importantly, the comedy is terrible.
All three guys are capable of making audiences laugh, but none even come close to expectations. None are terrible, but all three fail to make the most of the dismal script. At some point, perhaps thirty seconds after they signed the contract to act in this movie and suddenly sobered up, they probably realized it what a lost cause. The script is so bad it has very few recognizable jokes; if the screenwriter thought his screenplay was laugh-out-loud funny, the comedy went right over my head. Each character gets about a minute's worth of clever humor; the rest is dull and uninteresting.
Why anyone would want to sit down for an hour and a half and watch this piece of crap is beyond me. "Without a Paddle," in essence, is not a terrible movie. It's filmed quite nicely and doesn't contain any one scene that takes the audience out of the picture, but a comedy with no jokes does not serve a purpose in the world. There are movies that are more poorly made, but at least they have that going for them. "Without a Paddle" has nothing. Nothing!
Avoid "Without a Paddle" at all costs, unless you're an insomniac tired of taking sleeping pills.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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