Without a Paddle

Bomb Rating: 

How bad is this film? Well, it's the type of movie that uses "and Burt Reynolds" in its credit sequence as a selling point.

If you imagine any of Adam Sandler's movies without Adam Sandler, you start to get ill realizing that, despite audiences' claims to the contrary, "Little Nicky" or "Mr. Deeds" could have in fact been even worse. Coincidentally, both those films were helmed by the director of this film, Steven Brill, who now appears to have the opportunity to navigate his little, broken-down canoe without the aid of his trusty oar and benefactor, Adam Sandler.

One gets a queasy feeling during the whole endeavor, like watching one of the Kennedy relatives trying to make it on his own. Sandler's beer buddies are notoriously fond of waking up under a pile of Schlitz empties and suddenly declaring themselves filmmakers, presuming that it's no more complicated than bouncing a quarter into a plastic cup. Having ridden Sandler's coattails to shreds, Brill's set out to direct a successful not-quite-direct-to-video movie all by himself.

"Without a Paddle" is some evil combination of "Deliverance," "The Edge" and "Old School." Three friends decide to pay homage to their recently deceased fourth friend by doing something crazy, which happens to be taking an ill-advised, unplanned canoe ride into the middle of the Washington wilderness, ostensibly in search of D.B. Cooper's crash site. For those who don't know, D.B. Cooper was a famed hijacker who jumped out of a 727 with $200,000 in cash in 1971 and was never found. The inclusion of this little factoid is about as useful to this film as practice is to Dax Shepard's acting skills.

Shepard, from MTV's "Punk'd," plays one of the three friends, Tom. Each friend is battling some predictable form of "my life is empty" blahs. Tom is a gambler and a liar. Jerry (Matthew Lillard) can't commit to his girlfriend (how he's managed to attract a girlfriend is more of a mystery than anything else in this film), and Dan (Seth Green), though a doctor, is about as popular with the ladies as Chlamydia.

How bad is this film? Well, it's the type of movie that uses "and Burt Reynolds" in its credit sequence as a selling point. Gee, wasn't Dom DeLuise available? It also features a couple of hot, tree-hugging chicks throwing their bagged feces at two marijuana-growing hillbillies (Abraham Benrubi, Ethan Suplee) who give our trio a hard time. Not surprisingly, this is only one of at least two extended poo joke sequences in the film. I suppose that makes it worth at least a crap.

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